You are here

Student Aid via HEERF I

In Spring and Fall 2020, the university awarded aid to students made available through phase I funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Students may have experienced loss of employment or other financial support due to the COVID-19 emergency. These aid payments were intended to help with expenses incurred as a result of the emergency, including housing, food, course materials, technology, healthcare, or childcare.

A report on the HEERF I disbursements is available

Eligibility

To have received an emergency grant payment, each student must have been:

  • 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 received the highest aid amount. Students enrolled less than full-time received prorated aid payments. Payments were distributed as follows:

Automatic aid payments

About 80% of CSULB’s student population received automatic aid payments.

  • For most of these students, payments were 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 had on record. These students were be contacted individually and had until May 13 to confirm their eligibility using our online form. Students who confirmed their eligibility were qualified to receive automatic aid payments.

Emergency grant application

CSULB allocated additional non-federal funding and a portion of the HEERF grant to provide additional emergency funding by application. Students were invited to apply for additional funding using an online application May 18–29, 2020, and payments were processed to students June 17–24, 2020.

Timeline

  • April 28: All students, staff, and faculty were notified that CSULB received HEERF grant.
  • May 1: Students without eRefund information on file were asked to set up eRefund.
  • May 8: Payments were 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 were processed to students who verified their eligibility for automatic aid payments.
  • May 18 – 29: Application window for emergency grants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who was eligible?

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

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

If you were eligible to complete a FAFSA but did not do so, you were 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 were 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 was 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 students need to apply?

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

How did students get aid payments?

If you signed up for direct deposit with CSULB by May 3, 2020, we sent your CARES payment by direct deposit. If you did not sign up for direct deposit or do so after May 3, we sent your payment by check to your preferred mailing address.

When did students get aid payments?

Students received an email when an aid payment was processed.

Depending on the bank, it could have taken several business days for payments to post.

Will this payment count as income for 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 was the application for additional emergency funding available?

Applications were be accepted on BeachScholarships through Friday, May 29.

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

If you received payment from the CARES Act, it was paid in its entirety to you. If you received payment from non-CARES Act funding, your aid payment may have been reduced by your outstanding balance before being paid to you.

What about international students and undocumented students?

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

Were newly admitted students starting in fall 2020 eligible to receive an aid payment? 

No. The grant funding was 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.

Were 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.

Were 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 were eligible to receive emergency aid payments. Visiting students were 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.

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?

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