CSU CARES Act Emergency Grants

What is the CARES Act Emergency Grant?

Updated on 5/20/2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and provided money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the pandemic.

Cal Poly Pomona was allocated $30.9 million, with at least $15.4 million going to emergency grants for eligible students experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are one-time grants from the federal government and do not require any repayment. The CARES Act grant provides temporary, short-term, emergency financial assistance to eligible students who are experiencing an unforeseen hardship that could adversely affect their educational success. The main criteria for a grant are the demonstration of a genuine need and that the capacity for continued study may be in jeopardy due to financial hardship. 

Each CSU campus will distribute grants based on three shared CSU principles:

  • Student Success
  • Equity
  • Timeliness and Administrative Simplicity

When will CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds be available?

Cal Poly Pomona’s allocation from the federal CARES Act is in process and once we receive that funding from the U.S. Department of Education, we will be able to rapidly start distributing grants to eligible students based on their financial need and FAFSA filing date. We anticipate the grants will be disbursed in mid-May. Recipients will be notified via email to their CPP account.

Who is eligible for the CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds?

All currently enrolled (spring semester 2020) Cal Poly Pomona undergraduate, graduate and teaching credential students who are eligible to receive federal financial aid and were not enrolled in a completely online program as of March 13, 2020, may be considered for emergency grants funded by HEERF. Even if students have current financial holds or owe campus fees or fines, they are still eligible for this program and the funds will go directly to students. Any debts or fees owed to the university will not be deducted from the emergency grant.

Minimum eligibility criteria for students: 

  • Filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form for 2019-20
  • Are currently enrolled (Spring 2020) and matriculated (degree-seeking) undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential students
  • Are part-time or full-time students
  • Are U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Experiencing unexpected financial hardship from COVID-19

Students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid and who have the greatest financial need can be considered for these funds. The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships will use Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data to determine students’ eligibility. If you are eligible to file a FAFSA but have not yet filed for 2019-20, you can still file a FAFSA at studentaid.gov.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students, or students enrolled in a completely online program as of March 13, 2020. If you are a student from one of these groups, there may be other types of institutional emergency aid available to you. As of May 20, 2020, the CSU Cares Program has identified a separate funding source of emergency grants for undocumented students.

The CARES emergency grants are designed to support student expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These expenses might include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses. Grants will be disbursed electronically to student banking accounts or via check.

Group 1: Students in Group 1 have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 to $4,000, as calculated through the FAFSA process. To prioritize rapid support of students in need, Cal Poly Pomona will automatically award the initial grants to Group 1 students. Grants will be pro-rated based on part-time vs. full-time status. FAFSA must have been filed by April 30, 2020.

Grant Amount: $1,000 or $650, depending on full-time or part-time enrollment during spring term.

Group 2: Students in Group 2 have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $4,001 to $8,000, as calculated through the FAFSA process. To prioritize rapid support of students in need, Cal Poly Pomona will automatically award the initial grants to Group 2 students. Grants will be pro-rated based on part-time vs. full-time status. FAFSA must have been filed by April 30, 2020.

Grant Amount: $650 or $350, depending on full-time or part-time enrollment during spring term.

Group 3: Group 3 students who have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) greater than $8,000 and who are experiencing unexpected financial hardship resulting from COVID-19 may submit a CARES Grant Application to claim grant funds. The CARES Grant Application will be available in BroncoDirect the week of May 4. The CARES Act grant application must be completed by June 15, 2020. FAFSA must have been filed by April 30, 2020.

Grant Amount: Students in Group 3 who experienced unexpected financial hardship resulting from COVID-19 can claim grant funds grant in the amount of $300 or $200, depending on full-time or part-time enrollment during spring term. They must also complete the CARES Act grant application by June 15, 2020.

Group 4: Eligible students who file a FAFSA after April 30, 2020 and are experiencing unexpected financial hardship resulting from COVID-19 may submit a CARES Grant Application to claim grant funds. The CARES Grant Application will be available in BroncoDirect the week of May 4. The CARES Act grant application must be completed by June 15, 2020.

Grant Amount: Students in Group 4 who experienced unexpected financial hardship resulting from COVID-19 can claim grant funds in the amount of $250 or $200, depending on full-time or part-time enrollment during spring term. They must first complete the 2019-20 FAFSA by June 1, 2020 and subsequently the CARES Act grant application by June 15, 2020.

To determine your eligibility to receive a CARES Act emergency grant, you must file the 2019-20 FAFSA at studentaid.gov by no later than June 1, 2020. Once your FAFSA is processed by Federal Student Aid, your information is sent to Cal Poly Pomona within 10 days. We will use the information to determine your eligibility for receiving an emergency grant. You will also be required to complete the CARES Grant Application, which will be available in BroncoDirect the week of May 4th. The CARES Act grant application must be completed by June 15, 2020.

We know these are times of great need. We are working very hard to disburse eligible students’ grants as quickly as possible. Students in Groups 1 and 2 will have automatic grants applied to their student account in mid-May. Once posted, funds will be disbursed via direct deposit for those who currently have that in place with Student Accounting. Once posted in the student account, direct deposit funds are normally received in the student’s bank account in three business days.

Students who have not signed up for direct deposit will receive a check in the mail. Allow at least 10 business days for receipt of checks. For students who may not have a bank account, Wells Fargo will cash the check for you at no charge.

If you submitted a FAFSA for the 2020 aid year you can find your EFC in your Student Center in BroncoDirect. From Student Center, click the View Financial Aid link under the Finances section in Student Center. 

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Click on the 2020 aid year link. 

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Click on the Financial Aid Summary link. 

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Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is display. 

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You can also view the how-to EFC video.

If you have an EFC of $8,000 or less, you will not need to complete an application.

If your EFC is more than $8,000, you can complete the CARES Act Emergency Grant Application. The application will be available in your BroncoDirect Student Center starting the week of May 4 through June 15.    

If you have not yet filed a 2019-20 FAFSA, go to studentaid.gov to complete one. You must complete the 2019-20 FAFSA by June 1, 2020. Once completed and received by CPP, which takes 7 to 10 days, you can complete the CARES Act Emergency Grant Application. The application will be available in your BroncoDirect Student Center starting the week of May 4 through June 15.  

Students in Group 3 will need to complete the CARES Emergency Grant Application to claim grants awarded.  Students in Group 4 are also required to complete the CARES Emergency Grant Application to claim grants awarded, but after they have filed a 2019-20 FAFSA.

MyCPP Popup

  1. Login to MyCPP
  2. If you will be prompted with the CARES Grant Application details. Follow the directions and click the embedded link to be taken directly to the form.

Screenshot of Application screen

BroncoDirect Menu Navigation

1. From MyCPP click on BroncoDirect

Bronco Direct screenshoot of logo

2. Follow this Navigation: Main Menu > BroncoDirect Student Self Services > CARES Grant Application

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To-Do Item

1. From MyCPP click on BroncoDirect

screenshot of Broncodirect Logo

2. Click on Student Center

Screenshot of Self Service in BroncoDirect

3. Click MORE under the To Do List area of Student Center

Screenshot of Cares Grant Application in BroncoDirect

4. Click on the CARES Grant Application link

Screenshot of To Do List in BroncoDirect

5. The To DO List item will display. Click the URL at the bottom to open the form.

Screenshot of Final To Do List with Cares Act application form in BroncoDirect

The CARES Act Emergency Grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The Basic Needs Emergency Grant is funded by Cal Poly Pomona. 

The deadline to submit a CARES Act Emergency Grant Application is June 15, 2020. CPP must expended all emergency grant funds by September 30, 2021.

Yes, graduating students who are enrolled in spring 2020 and meet eligibility criteria can receive emergency grant funds.

Based on direction from the U.S. Department of Education, the CARES Act emergency grant may only be awarded to students enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona in spring 2020.

Based on direction from the U.S. Department of Education, the CARES Act emergency grant may not be given to international students. However, if you are in need of emergency funds, please apply for a Bronco Basic Needs Emergency Grant.

Based on direction from the U.S. Department of Education, the CARES Act Emergency Grant may not be given to undocumented students. However, if you are in need of emergency funds, please apply for a Bronco Basic Needs Emergency Grant

You can see your EFC for 2019-20 in View Financial Aid on BroncoDirect. View the how-to video to view your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Group 1: Your EFC is 0 to $4,000
Group 2: Your EFC is $4,001 to $8,000
Group 3: Your EFC is more than $8,000
Group 4: You have not yet filed a 2019-20 FAFSA

You may contact the Cal Poly Pomona’s CARES Act hotline at 909-869-3800 or caresact@cpp.edu.

No. Your grant is not subject to taxation.

Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code.

No. Because the emergency financial aid grant is not includible in your gross income, you cannot claim any deduction or credit for expenses paid with the grant including the tuition and fees deduction, the American Opportunity Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Credit. See section 139(h) of the Internal Revenue Code.

As long as you are still enrolled in at least 1 unit for spring 2020 in a degree seeking program, you will be eligible for an emergency grant.

Yes.

Your CARES Act grant funds will be posted to your student account within a week. To view your student account, visit your BroncoDirect Student Center and click on Account Activity in the Finance section's drop down menu. Funds will be disbursed via direct deposit if you have previously designated your bank information for this purpose. Once posted in the student account, direct deposit funds are normally received in your bank account within 5 business days. If you have not signed up for direct deposit, you will receive a check in the mail. Allow at least 10 business days for receipt of checks. If you do not have a bank account, Wells Fargo will cash this check for you at no charge. 

The EFC number is a way to gauge a student’s financial need. Your nine-month (academic year) EFC is calculated by the U.S. Department of Education when you submit your FAFSA and is what determines your eligibility for all federal and state grant assistance. Even if you attend school for fewer than nine months, your eligibility for grants is still required to be based off your nine-month EFC.

The Prorated EFC is used when a student is attending less than the full nine months (i.e., spring only student). CPP used Primary EFC for all students when determining amounts for the CARES Act emergency grants.