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Cares Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by the U.S. government in March to allocate financial support through several areas. As part of the CARES Act, the Department of Education created the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). CSULB is a beneficiary of $20.8 million in funding from HEERF to give payments to students to help with expenses related to the COVID-19 emergency.

Students may have experienced loss of employment or other financial support due to the COVID-19 emergency. These aid payments are intended to help with expenses incurred as a result of the emergency, including housing, food, course materials, technology, healthcare, or childcare.

Eligibility

To receive an emergency grant payment, each student must be:

  • Enrolled in a degree program at CSULB
  • Registered in at least 1 unit in the Spring 2020 semester (as of March 27, 2020)
  • For CARES Act funding: A U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, eligible for Title IV funding
  • Students ineligible for Title IV funding may be eligible for additional emergency grant funding from non-federal sources.

Allocation and Distribution

Students with the highest financial need will receive the highest aid amount. Students enrolled less than full-time will receive prorated aid payments. Payments will be distributed as follows:

Automatic aid payments

About 80% of CSULB’s student population is expected to receive automatic aid payments.

  • For most of these students, payments will be processed on Friday, May 8 by direct deposit for students who registered for eRefund and by paper check for students who did not register for eRefund.
  • For the remaining students, we were unable to verify eligibility to receive federal financial aid using the information we have on record. These students will be contacted individually and will have until May 13 to confirm their eligibility using our online form. Students who confirm their eligibility will be qualified to receive automatic aid payments in the following weeks.

Emergency grant application

If you need funding to help pay for emergency expenses — such as housing, food, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare expenses — you can apply on BeachScholarships. Applications will be accepted on BeachScholarships until Friday, May 29.

Timeline

  • April 28: All students, staff, and faculty notified that CSULB received HEERF grant.
  • May 1: Students without eRefund information on file were asked to set up eRefund.
  • May 8: Payments will be processed to students eligible for automatic aid payments.
  • May 13 (5 p.m.): Deadline for students to submit eligibility verification form for automatic aid payments.
  • May 15 – 22: Payments will be processed to students who verified their eligibility for automatic aid payments.
  • May 18 – 29: Application window for emergency grants.

Reporting

Information about the university’s use of the HEERF grant, as required by the Department of Education, is available online.

CARES Act Institutional Funding

CSULB additionally received emergency funds to cover institutional costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The university will develop a spending plan for this funding. This page and the FAQ below are intended to provide information about the emergency aid grants to students, and not the institutional funding component.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible?

Most students who are eligible to file for federal financial aid will automatically receive emergency aid payments. Federal guidelines restrict emergency aid payments from the HEERF fund to students who are eligible for federal financial aid and were enrolled in at least 1 unit for Spring 2020 as of March 27, 2020. If we are unable to verify your eligibility using the information we have on file, we will send you instructions so that you can submit any missing information. If you are not eligible to file for federal financial aid, you may be eligible to receive an emergency aid payment from non-federal sources that CSULB has made available.

If I didn’t complete a FAFSA for 2019-2020, will I still receive an aid payment?

If you are eligible to complete a FAFSA but did not do so, you are still eligible to receive an emergency aid payment. If we are able to verify your eligibility using the information we already have on file, we will be able to process an automatic aid payment. If we are unable to confirm your eligibility, you will be able to apply for an emergency grant using BeachScholarships.

How was my aid amount determined?

Your aid amount was determined based on your financial need information on record for the 2019-2020 academic year. Students with the highest financial need will receive the highest aid amount. Students enrolled less than full-time will receive prorated aid payments.

Aid is determined by need and enrollment level.
  Half-time or greater Less than half-time
$0 Expected Family Contribution $1,000 $500
Expected Family Contribution below Cost of Attendance $500 $250
All other qualified students - Expected Family Contribution above the Cost of Attendance, or incomplete financial-aid file $250 $250

Do I need to repay this?

No. You do not need to repay this emergency aid.

Do I need to apply?

If we were able to verify your eligibility to receive federal financial aid, you will not need to apply. Your aid eligibility and payment amount were determined based on your financial need information for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

If we were unable to verify your eligibility to receive federal financial aid, you will be able to apply for emergency funding using the CSULB application process through BeachScholarships.

How will I get my aid payment?

If you signed up for direct deposit with CSULB by May 3, 2020, we will send your CARES payment by direct deposit. If you do not wish to sign up for direct deposit or do so after May 3, we will send your payment by check to your preferred mailing address. You should make sure that your mailing address is correct on MyCSULB Student Center.

When will I get my aid payment?

We are processing aid payments as quickly as possible. You will receive an email when your aid payment is processed.

Depending on your bank, it may take several business days for your payment to post to your account.

Will this payment count as income for my financial aid next year?

No. Our Financial Aid office will not include CARES emergency aid in your income when determining your financial aid package for next year.

Non-CARES emergency aid may be subject to inclusion depending on the relevant guidelines.

Will this change my financial aid for the 2020-2021 academic year?

No. Our Financial Aid office will not include CARES emergency aid in your income when determining your financial aid package for next year.

Non-CARES emergency aid may be subject to inclusion depending on relevant guidelines.

However, if you or your family’s financial situation significantly changed due to the COVID-19 circumstances (such as loss of employment), you can submit a 2020-2021 Income Appeal to our Financial Aid office. 

What if I need more emergency aid funding?

We want to be responsive to those who have experienced additional expenses as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. We have a limited amount of additional funding available for students with the most need. If you need additional funding to help pay for emergency expenses — such as housing, food, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare expenses — you can apply on BeachScholarships.

When will the application for additional emergency funding be available?

The emergency grant application is now available. Applications will be accepted on BeachScholarships until Friday, May 29.

I have outstanding charges on my student account. Will this grant be reduced by those charges?

If you receive payment from the CARES Act, it will be paid in its entirety to you. You will need to pay your outstanding charges separately because they will not be deducted from your aid payment amount.

If you receive payment from non-CARES Act funding, your aid payment may be reduced by your outstanding balance before being paid to you.

What about international students and undocumented students?

We are working to use other non-federal funding sources to help our international students and our undocumented students as much as we can.

Students ineligible for automatic emergency aid payments may be eligible to receive some emergency funding from CSULB from non-federal sources by applying on BeachScholarships.

I’m a newly admitted student starting in fall 2020. Am I eligible to receive an aid payment? 

No. The grant funding is intended for students enrolled in at least 1 unit in spring 2020.

However, if you or your family’s financial situation significantly changed due to the COVID-19 circumstances (such as loss of employment), you can submit a 2020-2021 Income Appeal to our Financial Aid office.

Are students who withdrew from classes eligible?

Aid payment eligibility and amounts were determined based on each student’s enrollment status when the emergency spending bill was signed into law on March 27, 2020. Changes to enrollment after March 27, 2020 were not considered in determining your aid payment amount.

Are visiting students eligible?

Only students who were enrolled in degree-granting programs at CSULB and registered in at least 1 unit in spring 2020 as of March 27, 2020 are eligible to receive emergency aid payments. Visiting students are not eligible to receive emergency aid payments from CSULB’s grant, but should check with their home institutions to determine their eligibility for emergency aid.

Why didn’t I receive any aid payment information yet?

We were able to confirm aid payment eligibility and amounts for most of our students already and will notify them the week of May 4 to expect payment soon. We are still working to verify eligibility and aid amounts for a small population of students for whom we did not have eligibility information already on file.

I am a student who received an emergency financial aid grant under section 3504, 18004, or 18008 of 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. Is this grant includible in my gross income?

No. 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. This grant is not includible in your gross income.
 

I received an emergency financial aid grant under the CARES Act and used some of it to pay for course materials that are now required for online learning because my college or university campus is closed. Can I claim a tuition and fees deduction for the cost of these materials, or treat the cost of these materials as a qualifying education expense for purposes of claiming the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit?

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.

Who should I contact if I have further questions?

We are processing aid payments as quickly as possible, and we hope that your payment notification email will answer any additional questions you have.

For additional questions about the CARES Act emergency aid payments, please contact the Division of Student Affairs.