Pasadena City College this week began receiving the first of $15.2 million it will receive through the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package passed last month that aims to recharge the coronavirus-affected economy.
Half of the funding, or roughly $7.6 million, arrived in PCC’s accounts over the weekend, and the college has already begun distributing money to students in need.
The funds are intended to alleviate emergency needs in food, housing, technology access, course materials, health care, and child care related to the pandemic. In all, California’s community colleges are slated to receive nearly $300 million through the program, according to an estimate provided by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
“This is important funding for the college, and it is absolutely crucial for our students,” said Erika Endrijonas, PCC’s superintendent/president. “We know that this emergency has upended peoples’ lives in ways that continue to deeply affect our community. We hope this lifeline can help folks who need it most.”
Roughly 5,500 of PCC’s 25,000 currently enrolled students will receive grants of between $500 to $1,000 through the program. Funds are being targeted to students with the highest financial need, with students taking a full schedule of classes receiving larger grants. Students can access details about their own grant package through the college’s LancerPoint system.
The college plans to distribute just under $5 million in direct CARES aid this spring, while holding some funds in reserve to address future needs as the public health emergency continues indefinitely. An additional $630,000 in emergency funding will be available to help with issues students face, accessible through a unified application process.
When all sources are considered, the college estimates it will help as many as 6,500 students with emergency cash grants this spring.
Beyond direct aid, the college has been helping its students weather this storm in the following ways:
- The Lancer Pantry has distributed nutritious food to students experiencing food insecurity.
- Donors giving to the PCC Foundation have created an Emergency Assistance Fund to help with urgent needs, including giving away $15,000 in electronic grocery gift cards.
- More than 250 laptops, hotspots, and other devices have been lent to students who need access to technology.
- College counselors and social services workers have helped students access housing programs.
- More than $14 million in federal financial aid payments were issued a month earlier than scheduled, giving nearly 8,000 students resources when they needed them most.
- Student workers paid through the college workstudy program continue to receive wages as scheduled, even if they are unable to work.
- On March 18, the college converted instruction to remote methods wherever possible, allowing students to continue their academic progress while practicing social distancing.
- Counselors, tutors, coaches, and other support services are all operating remotely, helping students in their studies and serving to boost their success.
In partnership with the L.A. Regional Food Bank, the college is providing personalized information to every student advising on food resources that are most easily accessible from their home address. More information is on this page.
In addition, the college continues to make laptops, hotspots, and other technology available to students and faculty that need it to work remotely. Applications are accepted through this page.
For more information, monitor pasadena.edu/healthupdates and college news sources.