A.S. Council Brief: Approx. 12,000 Students Eligible for COVID-19 Monetary Aid


Niloufar Shahbandi

Associated Student Senators heard a presentation by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Allyson M. Satterland regarding plans for the allocation of emergency cash grants through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act during their weekly meeting on Wednesday, April 29. UC San Diego has acquired approximately $35 million through the act, $17.4 million of which is dedicated to graduate and undergraduate student aid.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the CARES Act provides “funding to institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet.” This funding is a part of the Act’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which provides more than $6 billion dollars to public colleges and universities throughout the country.

At UCSD, an estimated 12,000 students with the “highest level of need” will be eligible for monetary aid from the CARES Act. $1.5 million has been set aside specifically for students whose situations may have unexpectedly changed due to COVID-19 using students’ financial aid forms to determine their eligibility.

According to Satterlund, if students “anticipate a need,” they should reach out to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Certain students may be eligible for awards of up to $1500 in the form of a grant that will not have to be paid back.

Satterlund went on to share that the distribution of the CARES fund is based on federal guidance.

“[We’ve] received very specific guidance from the Department of Education as to how those dollars can be distributed,” Satterlund said. “[Due to these guidelines] some specific communities of students will not be eligible for the [CARES Act] dollars.”

The university is working with their alumni foundations and philanthropy partners to provide money for international and undocumented students. 

The campus proposal has also dedicated ten percent of CARES funds to graduate students and stated that the Graduate Division Dean will be addressing these funds.

UCSD has additionally set money aside for Summer retention grants for students who will need to take online classes in order to graduate in a timely manner. They are also using the funds to provide triton tech kits to give laptops to students who need them to complete their online classes. Satterlund explained that UCSD is considering continuing the laptop lending program beyond the pandemic.

Artwork by Allyson Llacuna for the UCSD Guardian.