During these challenging times, it is more important than ever to help the most vulnerable students stay in school, earn their degrees, and build a better future for themselves and our communities.
The California College Student Emergency Support Fund launched on April 2nd to give one-time $500 hardship grants to students. Administered by Mission Asset Fund (MAF), the Fund is a statewide philanthropic response to address emergency needs for the state’s low-income college students, including undocumented immigrants, foster youth, and those who are housing insecure.
As colleges and universities respond to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, students find themselves facing a wide variety of challenges and costs. The Fund was created to cover unplanned financial expenses such as housing, technology, and more to support educational continuity, persistence, and degree completion for California’s college students through this crisis.
As anticipated, interest in the Fund and need for student support is high. Within 90 minutes of the launch of the application, 1,000 students had applied. Within 24 hours from launch, MAF had put over 65,000 students on a waiting list and has now closed applications. MAF is communicating directly with students on the waiting list as applications are being processed.
The applicants represent regions across the state and include the most vulnerable populations targeted by the Fund: low-income students, including those who are undocumented immigrants, foster youth, and those who are housing insecure. MAF is continuing to engage in conversations with funders to raise additional support for the Fund, as are we. We wish to thank the other major donors who have joined us so far: Ballmer Group, ECMC Foundation, Genentech Foundation, Stuart Foundation, Stupski Foundation, and Weingart Foundation. We also wish to thank the San Diego Foundation, which contributed funds to support students in San Diego County.
“We’re grateful to the College Futures Foundation and their peer foundations for taking the initiative and recognizing the immediate needs that California college students are encountering in the face of COVID-19. By rallying together and getting money out the door fast, thousands of our state’s most vulnerable students statewide will have a safety net and be able to continue to meet their academic goals.”
— Lande Ajose, Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education for the Office of the Governor
“Especially during difficult times, we must continue to build our future. When college students are able to persist in earning degrees, they can create better lives for themselves and their communities. In this moment, College Futures and our partners are committed to removing the immediate barriers facing our most vulnerable and hard-working students. We are grateful to our funding partners for joining us and MAF in this effort. Let’s not let the cost of a laptop, a month’s rent, or a car repair mean the difference between completing this semester or stopping out.”
— Monica Lozano, College Futures Foundation President & CEO.
Details about the fund:
To be eligible for the California College Student Emergency Support Fund, students must:
- Be currently enrolled full-time (12+ units) as an undergraduate at a California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus
- Have arned at least 24 semester units or 36 quarter units (i.e., one academic year of coursework)
- Be low-income, with a maximum Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,576 (equivalent to eligibility for Pell Grant) or eligible for a California College Promise Grant Fee Waiver (formerly known as the BOG fee waiver)
Applications and grant payments to students are being processed by MAF. MAF is a well-established non-profit organization that carried out a similar emergency fund effort in 2017 to pay for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients’ renewal fees.