Presidential seal

May 11, 2020

Dear SDSU Community,

We are pleased to share that San Diego State University received $29 million as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in support of students.

Colleges and universities across the nation are receiving this funding from the U.S. Department of Education, and about $1.7 billion was awarded to those in California alone. Thousands of eligible undergraduate and graduate students who have experienced financial challenges due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will receive the bulk of this aid. The allocation also expands the suite of offerings our university has put in place to further increase direct student aid.

Of the $29 million awarded, half will be available for CARES Act emergency funds to help eligible students with food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. The remaining allocation is intended for Universities to partially cover unanticipated COVID-19-related expenses, helping to retain critical faculty and staff lines, and to provide partial support for addressing health, technology, or other needs in preparation for the Fall.

Per guidance of the California State University (CSU) System and the Department of Education, SDSU’s Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships used Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data to determine students’ eligibility, and has already dispersed all available CARES Act funding to those who are currently eligible.

Eligibility and the Disbursement Process

The U.S. Department of Education requires students to meet title IV eligibility to receive this CARES Act funding. More information about this eligibility and the disbursement process is below.

SDSU has already contacted all eligible students, determined as having a FAFSA on file; Undergraduate and graduate students, based on eligibility, received between $250 and $800. Award amounts differed based on full-time or part-time enrollment status, as well as by financial aid eligibility status, with Pell Grant, State University Grant (SUG), and Cal Grant eligible students receiving higher amounts.

Funding is being distributed to SDSU and SDSU Imperial Valley students in the following ways:

  • Students who filed a FAFSA: These students are eligible for federal aid and have automatically received funding. Those students did not have to apply. More than two-thirds of SDSU students fell into this category.

  • Students who filed a FAFSA and received funding, but need additional funding: A limited portion of the CARES Act funding will be available for additional requests through the Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT). Eligible students may be considered to receive additional funding to help with only the following expenses: food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. Eligible students can complete an application for additional CARES Act funding.

  • Students without a FAFSA on file: If you did not receive funding and believe you meet the Title IV eligibility requirements, we ask that you immediately complete the FAFSA form online so that it can be reviewed for your eligibility for CARES Act funding. Students who file the FAFSA will need to check their AidLink account for information regarding their eligibility.

Assistance for Students Not Eligible for CARES Act Funding  

We recognize that the CARES Act grants may not cover all student needs. Further, the CARES Act does not provide emergency funds for international students, international exchange participants, or those who are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. SDSU is, however, providing financial support to those students through the use of other university and donor supported funds that are not federal dollars. Moreover, students enrolled in online-only programs are also not eligible for CARES funding.

Any student who has additional food, housing or financial needs can reach out to ECRT to discuss support opportunities by filling out the online form to request assistance.

While the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships is managing the CARES Act disbursements, another team is working to support the retention of university students. The Division of Student Affairs has introduced a connection and student support coaching group, called the SDSU Cares Team.

The SDSU Cares Team is actively reaching out to students — the team reached more than 1,500 students in the last week alone — to provide information about class registration, assistance being offered virtually, housing, and to address other questions students have. SDSU and SDSU Imperial Valley students may reach the team by emailing [email protected].

In Closing

We know how challenging and financially difficult the pandemic has been for some members of our community. We appreciate having the support of the U.S. Department of Education, and also for our many donors who have provided their own funds to support students who need immediate financial relief. Our hope is that the federal funds offered, along with other support SDSU has already put into place, will further reduce burdens faced by our students and their families.

We will never stop sharing our appreciation for the resilience of our community during this time. Please continue to take good care of yourself and your family and maintain your focus on completing the spring semester.

Adela de la Torre
San Diego State University President

Agnes Wong Nickerson
Interim Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs and Chief Financial Officer

Christy Samarkos
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs