City College students will receive financial aid from the government

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides aid to higher education


Current COVID-19 safety precautions have caused the San Diego Community College District to close campuses including San Diego City College. City Times file photo

Gabriel Schneider, Staff Writer

San Diego City College students will receive just under 2.3 million in financial aid, according to the government database that lists the allocations for each college and university across the country.

The aid comes from a package included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides $6.8 billion in initial formula grants to higher education institutions known as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).

San Diego City College Chancellor Constance Carroll said institutions in the district, including City, Mesa and Miramar colleges, would receive funds. City Times totaled just over $13.7 million based on the government database that details the allocations to colleges and universities across the country.

In her most recent update shared tonight by email and online, Carroll said, “they are closely monitoring federal relief funding.”

“We are greatly disappointed by the clarifications we have recently received regarding how the funds may be used,” Carroll wrote in the update. “Clearly, our values as a community college organization are inclusive and it is our goal to help all students, especially those who are the most vulnerable.”

However, this amount allocated is based on Pell Grant figures, which is tied to credit students. The guidelines from the CARES Act require that 50% of the funds are allocated to students, especially students impacted negatively by the COVID-19 crisis.

Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students
Part of the list of allocations for every college in the country. The left side is total allocations and the right side is minimum to be Awarded for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. Department of Education screenshot


In all, City College will receive just over $4.5 million in allocations.

“The funds can only be used for ‘Title IV-eligible’ students, defined as legal residents who have a high school diploma or GED and who are registered in authorized programs. The CARES Act HEERF specifically excludes undocumented, DACA, and international students from this funding,” Carroll said.

According to the chancellor, “This clarification would in effect also exclude some categories of noncredit students.”

Although many courses at City College are “ground-based,” students whose schedules only included online classes on March 13 will also be excluded from aid.

The colleges can use the remaining funds to “defray expenses for institutions of higher education such as lost revenue, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, and grants to students for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care,” Caroll wrote on April 15 and April 23.

Since students’ “financial needs are immediate and great”  the four institutions have decided to distribute their scholarship funds early. 

“President Ricky Shabazz reports that City College has already distributed $283,090 to 210 students and is providing emergency funds as well,” Caroll said.

San Diego Community College District received $200,000 from the San Diego Foundation to fight the “Digital Divide.”

City College will receive $49,000 to provide computer equipment to students in need. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.