COVID19

Overview

CSAC’s Response to COVID-19

Marlene Garcia California Student Aid Commission

The COVID-19 crisis has uprooted all of our lives, especially the lives of our students whose college experience has turned into a virtual one overnight. We at the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) applaud segments and campuses for pivoting quickly to ensure students remain on their educational path. We also recognize equity gaps have widened due to COVID-19. Many students relied on on-campus resources such as technology, internet access, jobs, shelter and cafeterias. We cannot afford to let our most vulnerable students fall through the cracks. 

CSAC is committed to ensuring students have accurate information and resources regarding their financial aid packages during the COVID-19 crisis. Our team is diligently monitoring the situation and is compiling a list of resources and frequently asked questions. As California continues to navigate this global pandemic, CSAC will help our state’s students—especially those whose struggle with food and rent is heightened by this crisis—have access to real-time guidance and resources. Student success in college will play a major role in the state’s economic recovery. This is the time to double-down and support students during this time of economic uncertainty and make higher education financially accessible for all Californians.

Marlene Garcia, Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission

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For Students

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will CSAC be extending the Late GPA Appeal deadline for competitive students due to school closures during this time? There has been no change for the GPA submission process for the Competitive Cal Grant program. On May 19, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order extending the Late GPA deadline from May 18, 2020 to September 2, 2020 for Cal Grant Entitlement students.  Students must have submitted a FAFSA or CADAA by the March 2nd deadline in order to qualify for this extended GPA submission deadline. CSAC encourages students to contact their campus to complete and provide the GPA form, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure CSAC receives the verified GPA.  If there are any changes to our programs, we will communicate them to your campus and will post updates on our CSAC website.

2. Will I still be able to receive my Cal Grant award if my classes were transitioned to online courses due to COVID-19? Since the school is responsible for Cal Grant payments, please work with your financial aid office to resolve questions and issues concerning your eligibility to receive payments.  Schools disburse the funds to their students based on their disbursement schedules. If the school determines that a student is not eligible, they have the authority to withdraw the award.

3. If I am not able to complete my courses due to COVID-19, what steps do I need to take to keep my Cal Grant? We have not made any specific changes to the programs we administer. For any semester/term you will not be receiving a Cal Grant payment, you will need to place a leave of absence to put a hold on your account for that time.  Leave of Absences can be used for up to two years during the time of the Cal Grant award for each participant.  You can place a leave of absence by creating and logging into your account at https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov .  If you are unable to access your account, you may also complete the Grant Record Change Form (G-10) to request the Leave of Absence.

4How will I receive my Cal Grant payment since my school’s financial aid office is closed? Since the school is responsible for disbursing Cal Grant payments, please work with your financial aid office to resolve questions and issues concerning your ability to receive payments.  Schools disburse the funds to their students based on their disbursement schedules. If the school determines that a student is not eligible, they have the authority to withdraw the award. If you find it difficult to receive assistance from your school, please contact our Student Support Call Center at (888) 224-7268.

5. I missed the March 2nd filing deadline due to COVID-19. May I still be considered for a Cal Grant? Students who are attending a California Community college in the Fall 2020 term and have completed a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) have a second chance to compete for a Cal Grant award.  To be considered,  CSAC must have both a completed FAFSA/CADAA on file and a GPA Verification Form postmarked by September 2nd, 2020.   

If you will not be attending a California Community College, and feel you have circumstances outside of your control that caused a late submission of your application, you may file a Cal Grant Appeal Form (G-18) to have your case reviewed. Please note, our appeals may take 6-8 weeks processing time for you to receive a response.

6. My high school graduation has been delayed due to COVID-19. How does this affect my eligibility for the Cal Grant award? Currently, we have not made any specific changes to the programs we administer.  If you will still be graduating high school in the 2020 academic year, and have submitted your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) and GPA Verification Form by the March 2nd deadline, you will still be eligible to be considered for our High School Entitlement Cal Grant Award.

7. What date do I use to confirm my high school graduation for my to-do list on WebGrants 4 Students? When confirming your High School Graduation date for High School Entitlement Cal Grant Award, you should use the date that is listed on your High School Diploma, High School Transcripts, or the completion date of your high school graduation equivalency document (such as HiSet, TASC, GED, CHSPE).  Please note, you must wait until the month of your graduation to complete this requirement.  You may complete the certification by creating and logging into your account at https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov.

8. My household has suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19.  How does this affect my eligibility for the Cal Grant award? Currently, we have not made any specific changes to the programs we administer. To see the Cal Grant Income and Asset ceilings please visit https://www.csac.ca.gov/post/cal-grant-income-and-asset-ceilings.  To make a change to your income information, please contact the financial aid office at your college and inquire about filing a loss of income appeal through the school. At the conclusion of the process, your school’s financial aid office will work with the Institution Support Unit at CSAC so we can make any necessary corrections in our system.  These changes may impact your Cal Grant eligibility.

 9. Will the Cal Grant award amounts be increased to help students who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19? As of right now, the state is working to address several options that will be designed to assist students and California residents.  Currently, we have not made any specific changes to the programs we administer. We encourage you to contact your financial aid office at your college to see if there are any programs or additional assistance, they are aware of that you may be able to apply for.  If there are any changes to our programs, we will communicate them to your institution and post the information on our CSAC website.

10. Will I still be required to verify that I have registered for selective service to get a Cal Grant?  Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order on May 19, 2020 waiving the requirement for students that apply for financial aid via the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) to verify Selective Service registration to be eligible to receive a Cal Grant for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.  Students are still required to complete the selective service registration.

Undocumented/Dreamer Student Resources

State

California DACA Updates during COVID19

Ca.gov: California Immigrant Guide (COVID19): Information on public charge, protecting yourself, and if you get sick and don’t have health insurance.

Institutions

UC: California DREAM Loan Program & CSU: California DREAM Loan Program (Cal State LA) : The California Dream Loan is a subsidized loan program specifically developed to assist the California Dream Act students, also known as an AB-540 student, to cover the cost of attending a UC/CSU.

California Community Colleges: Undocumented Student Resource Center

We encourage students to contact their campus’ financial aid and scholarships office for questions about their financial aid packages and availability of emergency grants or loans. If applicable, we also encourage students to visit their campus’ Dreamer/Undocumented Student Resource Center.

Organizations

California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance: Resources for Undocumented People

Immigrants Rising: Tangible support for undocumented communities during COVID-19.

Immigrants Rising: Beyond DACA

Informed Immigrant DACA Updates During the COVID-19 Crisis: Resources in California and other states for the Undocumented community during COVID-19

Foster Youth Resources

General Resources

What is My Institution Saying?

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For Institutions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQs: Impact of COVID-19 on Commission Programs

Institutional Support Update

CSAC Institutional Support Unit Statement:

CSAC’s Institutional Support Unit (ISU) has received several questions about the CARES Act and its impact on financial aid during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working closely with our financial aid partners to develop detailed responses. More information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

We know institutions are facing rapidly changing conditions and want to remind institutions that they should follow their policies when it comes to the administration of financial aid for their students. If there are unique and specific scenarios, please reach out to ISU.

As of today, CSAC continues to process Cal Grants and MCS according to our regular processes. Payments and rosters continue to be updated weekly. ISU phone hours are 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM and staff can be reached at 888-294-0153. Emails can be sent to schoolsupport@csac.ca.gov. Institutions will be notified if there are any changes.

Training and Outreach Update

The Director of Public Health and the Governor of the State of California have enacted a Shelter in Place Order for all non-essential employees in order to preserve the health and safety of all Californians. The California Student Aid Commission’s Training and Outreach Unit is following state guidelines for this order. As such, in order to continue serving the needs of our partners at high schools, colleges and advocacy groups, we will be transitioning all training and outreach workshops and events to a virtual format. Until the Shelter in Place mandate is lifted and it is safe to resume travelling and gathering for in-person meetings, our Regional Trainings, Annual Statewide Financial Aid Workshops, Cash 4 College workshops and Ad Hoc events will be administered on a virtual format. We appreciate your patience as we all work together to continue to support California’s students and each other.

External Training Request