Federal aid, Wi-Fi lot and fall plans covered in City College town hall

City College students will be contacted with information on how to apply for federal aid


Vice President of Students Services Denise Whisenhunt was one of the City College administrators who addressed viewers during the Instructional Town Hall on May 7. YouTube screenshot

Gabriel Schneider, Staff Writer

Money is on its way for San Diego City College students in need.

That was the message from Vice President of Students Services Denise Whisenhunt in a virtual town hall meeting held May 7.

“In just a few days, we will be sending communication to the students,” Whisenhunt said, “to give them the opportunity to apply for resources.”

Whisenhunt was one of nine campus administrators on the call that talked about a range of topics, including Wi-Fi lots coming to City College, the student services transition to online and the fall semester.

Whisenhunt specifically addressed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act at the start of the call.

Whisenhunt said there is an emphasis toward Pell Grant recipients, due to the importance of giving to the students with the highest need.

The Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students to promote access to post-secondary education. There will also be resources available for non-Pell Grant recipients, she said.

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

According to a federal government database, and later confirmed directly with campus officials, City College will get $4.59 million in all.

Half of that – $2.3 million – goes directly to students for expenses caused by the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

Link: City College students will receive financial aid from the government

The CARES Act does not offer relief funds to international students, DACA students and students enrolled exclusively online before March 13.

However, City College president Ricky Shabazz says $20,000 will be offered to support undocumented students, which was donated to the college.

“I fully support our undocumented students and DACA students,” Shabazz said.  “Unfortunately, our federal government doesn’t respect our undocumented students, DACA students, as much as we do as a college and family.”

Wi-Fi lot coming to City College

Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) asked if City College plans to access Wi-Fi spots on campus during the summer and fall semester. 

Vice President of Instruction Matilda “Tillie” Chavez mentioned that reliable Wi-Fi has been a huge barrier for students. 

Shabazz also mentioned there’s a flyer that is currently being worked on that will have more information about the campus Wi-Fi lot. 

 “(We will) use the parking lot that is on C and 16th as a Wi-Fi lot, there will be social distancing enforced,” Shabazz said. “But we will have a Wi-Fi lot. As soon as we can get the flyer out we will be able to open up those lots.”

Student services are online

Student services have been using several different platforms to stay connected, including: Canvas, social media and phone.

“There (are) all kinds of things that are really dynamic happening in student services to make sure we are connecting with students where they are,” Whisenhunt said.

City Times has been reporting on the range of services available since March 13 on the live blog. Click here for the latest.

Whisenhunt invited students to “learn more” and encouraged them to stay connected during this challenging time.

Ricky Shabazz at May 7 town hall
President Ricky Shabazz discussed plans for the fall semester at the City College virtual town hall on May 7. YouTube screenshot

Shabazz addresses fall staying “primarily” online

City College is currently in the planning phase of how the fall semester will look for students and faculty who have to return to campus. 

Campus administration said that best practices and safety measures will be created with open discussion from students and faculty as things progress.

“We are absolutely taking the health and safety at the core of any decision we make,” Shabazz said.