CSU CARES Program

What is CSU Cares?

The CSU Cares Program offers emergency grants for CSU students experiencing financial hardships directly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is made possible through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) authorized by the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as well as existing CSU campus-based resources.

Each CSU campus will distribute grants based on three shared CSU principles:

  • Student Success
  • Equity
  • Timeliness and Administrative Simplicity

Higher Education Relief Fund Results

San Francisco State University received $14,362,954 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students pursuant to signing the required Certification and Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education. The entire allocation has been fully awarded and disbursed to eligible students as of May 15, 2020. A total of 18,318 students were identified as eligible to be considered for the emergency grants under the federal guidelines. A total of 14,364 eligible students received emergency grants through this program. The method used by SF State to determine which students received awards and the instructions for students follow.

Who is eligible?

All currently enrolled San Francisco State undergraduate, graduate and professional students who are eligible to receive federal financial aid and were not enrolled in a completely online program as of March 13, 2020, may be considered for emergency grants funded by HEERF. Even if students have current financial holds or owe the campus fees or fines, they are still eligible for this program. All other currently enrolled students may be considered for emergency grants through the HOPE Crisis Fund program.

What can the grants fund?

The CSU Cares emergency grants are designed to support student expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These expenses might include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses. Grants will be disbursed electronically to student banking accounts or via check.

What are the grant amounts?

Grant amounts will vary by campus and by student, depending on campus resources and student circumstances. However, grant awards provided via HEERF dollars will not be restricted by cost of attendance ceilings and will also not be counted against a student’s future financial aid award.

How will HEERF grant amounts be determined at San Francisco State?

Grant amounts will be based on each student’s documented financial need and in proportion to the financial difficulty faced as a result of COVID-19.  To be eligible for HEERF funds, students must have filed a FAFSA and have been deemed eligible to receive Federal Aid funds by the U.S. Department of Education and the campus financial aid office by April 21, 2020. Eligible students are then divided into three categories:

Group 1

Students with the lowest income status who received maximum state and/or federal aid. Students with an official expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 to $4,000 have been placed in this group. Group 1 students will receive an automatic grant award of $1,000 if enrolled full-time. The amount will be prorated if less than full-time. Students in Group 1 may also apply for additional funds of $250 to $2,000. (See the section on applying for additional funds below).

Group 2

Students with some financial need prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students with an official expected family contribution (EFC) of $4,001 to $8,000 have been placed in this group. Group 2 students will receive an automatic grant award of $750 if enrolled full-time. The amount will be prorated if less than full-time. Students in Group 2 may also apply for additional funds of $250 to $2,000. (See the section on applying for additional funds below).

Group 3

Eligible Students without regard to prior state and/or federal aid received. Students with an official expected family contribution (EFC) greater than $8,000 have been placed in this group. Students in Group 3 will not receive an automatic grant award but may apply for additional funds of $250 to $2,000. (See the section on applying for additional funds below).

How can I apply for additional funds?

We encourage students who are not eligible for federal student aid to consider the HOPE Crises Fund program. Students who are eligible for federal student aid (Groups 1, 2 and 3 above) can apply for additional HEERF funds through a simple application process. Eligible students in Group 1, 2 and 3 will see a “CARES Funds Application” link in the Financial Aid section in the Student Center. The application will be available May 4, 2020. For priority consideration during the spring term, grant applications must be received by May 11, 2020. Awards of $250 to $2,000 will be made based on the COVID-19 expenses incurred. If more applications are received than funding available, additional consideration based on financial need and other resources available will be utilized. The campus will make every effort to notify priority applicants of a decision by May 21, 2020. If funds remain after the priority application period, an additional round of applications will be accepted and application dates communicated.

Students will be asked to describe the expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic for which they are seeking support. These may include items such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. They must also briefly describe any financial hardship they are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who have questions about the application process should contact the Financial Aid Office.

How long will it take to receive HEERF funds?

We know these are times of great need. We are working very hard to disburse eligible students’ awards as quickly as possible. Students in Groups 1 and 2 will have automatic grants applied to their student account by April 30.  Students applying for additional funds during the priority application period will be posted around May 21, 2020. If awarded, students can select Account Activity in the drop down of the Finances section in the Student Center and see a CARES Act award posted. Funds will be disbursed via direct deposit for those who have previously designated their bank information for this purpose. Once posted in the student account, direct deposit funds are normally received in the student’s bank account in three business days. Students who have not signed up for direct deposit will receive a check in the mail. Allow at least 10 business days for receipt of checks. Wells Fargo will cash this check at no charge for students who do not have a bank account. Students who see an award posted but have not received the funds after these time periods should contact the Bursar’s Office.