AS allocates $20,000 to high-in-demand emergency grant


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AS allocates $20,000 to the MataCare grant in response to COVID-19.

Orlando Mayorquin, Campus Editor

The Associated Students Senate voted unanimously on Monday, April 13 to approve the allocation of $20,000 to the MataCare grant, an emergency grant created by the university for students in great financial need.

AS President Diana Vicente said donating to the grant was the best way for the organization to help students reeling from the impact of COVID-19.

“As soon as the pandemic started and we noticed that a lot of students were suffering from basic needs, Associated Students was very clear in that we needed to do something,” Vicente said.

Vicente asked AS Executive Director Patrick Bailey if there was a way for AS to assist students, suggesting contributing to financial awards. When Bailey mentioned the MataCare grant, Vicente reached out to the Financial Aid and Scholarship Department, which is in charge of the grant, and AS finance committee to recommend the allocation of $15,000 to the emergency grant fund.

According to Vicente, the amount was based on how much money AS could safely gather from unused funds from canceled events. During their meeting on April 6, the finance committee moved to recommend that allocation amount to the Senate.

Vicente said Linda Brignoni, director of the Financial Aid and Scholarship Department, responded with a specific amount request after the committee made the recommendation at the April 6 meeting. Brignoni requested $20,000.

The recommendation was amended to match the requested amount on Monday, before being approved unanimously by the Senate. According to Vicente, $20,000 was still a feasible amount.

The emergency grant predates the pandemic. It is funded by contributions from alumni, staff and other donors, according to the grant’s webpage. The average award amount for recipients is about $550, according to Matacare’s webpage.

Brignoni said there is an average of 163 applicants and 65 recipients each semester, and there have been 152 applicants and 78 recipients this semester as of April 12.

Brignoni said her office began to see an increase in applications after spring break, around the same time local and state governments issued executive stay-at-home orders and businesses began to close. There have been 118 applicants since the end of spring break.

The average award amount for COVID-19 related applications is $630, but Brignoni said the award is rarely enough to cover the amounts requested.

“That said, students are grateful for the helping hand and the expression of support that the grant reflects,” Brignoni wrote in an email. “Many students are in need because of loss of employment, which has made it difficult to cover bills, housing, food, transportation, medical expenses, and other pressing needs.”

According to Brignoni, fundraising for the grant is a continual process. She said the office for University Relations and Advancement has sent out contribution solicitations for the fund to CSUN alumni.

More information about the grant can be found here.


Editors Note April 16, 2020: Grammar error