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All California State University (CSU) campuses are set to receive federal funding that would ease financial strain for students and universities, CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro announced on March 11. 

A product of the American Rescue Plan Act, the U.S. Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, will provide nearly $40 billion to higher education institutions in response to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to University Spokesperson Matt Lazier, Cal Poly is projected to receive $37 million through the Act, with half of it going toward student financial aid. 

The relief fund also states that institutions receiving funding have to conduct active outreach to students that may qualify for financial aid adjustments due to themselves or a family member becoming recently unemployed. A minimum of 50% of funding is required to go toward offering emergency financial aid grants to students.

“We are pleased that we are receiving these funds — so that we can offer financial assistance to our students most in need and offset some of the negative financial impacts the pandemic has had on our university,” Lazier said in an email.

Lazier also said that while a portion of the funds will go towards addressing COVID-19, Cal Poly is still deciding what to do with the other funds. 

In a statement released Mar. 11, Castro said that with 50 % of CSU students coming from low-income households, the emergency financial grant aid will be helpful for those facing financial strain from the pandemic.

“This assistance will empower our talented and diverse students to persevere in obtaining their degrees and thus become future leaders who positively impact our communities and society,” Castro said in his statement. “The emergency one-time funding is critical to enable the CSU — a leader in social mobility — to continue advancing our critical public service mission.”

In addition to higher education funding, the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law March. 11, is set to address other topics such as stimulus payments, COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution and unemployment benefits. It is meant to offset the financial impacts of the pandemic. 

According to the Act, institutions receiving money through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund are required to use a portion of it to monitor and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the campus in accordance with public health guidelines.

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