CAMARILLO, Calif. — The library is closed and campus is mostly empty, but that doesn’t mean students are not studying. At California State University, Channel Islands, some students are using federal CARES Act money to get their degree on time.
Monica Sifuentes will graduate with a bachelor’s degree this fall, but only because she’s taking behavioral neuropsychology right now. It’s the hardest class in her major and she couldn’t fit it in with her class load next semester.
Summer session would have been too expensive without the university’s CARES Summer Grant Program. “I kind of felt bad that I was getting grant money even though I did really need it,” said Sifuentes.
It’s money from the federal CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security.
Sifuentes tried very hard to never ask for money to pay for school. She went to community college for three years, then she stopped school to work and save up just enough to pay to finish her bachelor’s degree in two years at CSUCI.
She needed the money for summer session because she lost one of her part-time jobs because of COVID-19. The pandemic threw her careful calculations out of whack.
“In our society we feel bad asking for help, so I felt bad that I needed help and couldn’t do it on my own,” said Sifuentes.
Students who receive the grant will be able to cover tuition for Summer Session B. The five-week Session B began July 13 and lasts through August 14. A university spokesperson said 539 students took advantage of the Summer CARES Scholarship Program for a total of $585,671.