President Harrison Q&A: Update on CARES Act grant eligibility

Logan Bik

Orlando Mayorquin, Campus Editor

Main Takeaways

The CARES Act grant application details have been delayed by at least another week as new federal guidelines bar undocumented students.

New federal guidelines have delayed the release of details for the application process by another week. Under the new guidelines, only students who completed the FAFSA are eligible. This excludes undocumented and international students.

President Dianne F. Harrison said that CSUN originally planned for all students to be eligible for the grant money, including the now excluded groups. However, the university is now working to reconfigure the application process and is hoping to communicate application details to eligible students by next week.

Harrison said she forsees a future relief package for undocumented and international students, but noted that given the state of politics, it’s unlikely that it would be provided by the federal governemnt. Harrison said that such a package would likely have to be funded through philanthropic means.

Harrison mentioned that MataCare emergency grant applications are open to all students who are in financial need.

ACT/SAT requirement suspension for 2021-2022 Academic Year.

The CSU system has suspended the ACT/SAT requirement for the 2021-2022 academic year, leaving it up to each individual campus to determine what “supplemental factors” to consider alongside GPA for admission.

CSUN’s Admissions and Records office is still finalizing which factors will be considered, but Harrison provided some examples of what will potentially be considered:

  • GPA in A-G courses
  • The number of A-G courses completed
  • Participation in “educational programs” like AVID or Upward Bound
  • How many hours students worked if they had a job while in school
  • Veteran or military dependent status
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Parents’ education level
  • Ward of the court or unaccompanied minor status
  • Student in “college promise” program or at a local community college

CSU Fullerton said it plans to begin its fall Semester online, but CSUN will not announce a firm decision before the end of this semester. 

According to Harrison, CSUN is also planning and considering an online or modified fall semester. She said CSUN won’t make a “firm” decision until May 15 or shortly after. 

According to Harrison, besides a completely online semester, potential plans include holding larger classes online and delaying the in-person return of students and employees who are part of vulnerable age groups and groups with underlying health conditions. 

Big question mark around drop in enrollment for fall semester. 

Harrison reaffirmed that there are a lot of “unknowns” regarding drop in enrollment for next semester. She said that the worst-scenario projection of a 20% enrollment she mentioned in an interview with was based on national models, and was not specific to CSUN. 

Harrison said CSUN won’t have a clear picture of enrollment for next semester until after the May 1 deadline, when prospective students are required to indicate their intention to enroll. 

As of April 24, the number of transfer students who have indicated their intent to enroll is up, but the same number for freshman students is low compared to last year. 

CSUN braces for financial loss next academic year.

A drop in enrollment and continued distancing measures could significantly “reduce” the size of next year’s budget. 

Harrison said university has begun instituting some measures to reduce spending, including a “hiring chill” and deferring some summer maintenance projects. One example is student housing. According to Harrison, the student housing department refurbishes some of its facilities over the summer, but this summer’s refurbishment has been deferred. 


Editor’s Note April 24,2020 7:31 p.m. : Added information to the story that failed to copy onto the published document.