Newsom’s stimulus plan to aid Community Colleges


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Governor Newsom has come up with a plan to help aid Community Colleges through this pandemic.

Over $100 million dollars in aid will be provided to California Community Colleges as part of the $7.6 billion stimulus package signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom according to a statement from the Office of the Governor on Feb. 23.
“We are taking immediate action in partnership with our legislative leadership to provide families and businesses the relief they need,” said Newsom. “This critical assistance – including child care, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals and households, financial aid for community college students and more – will help keep our communities afloat as the state continues to confront the immense challenges of this moment.”
According to the statement, the aid being given to community colleges, including the Los Rios District, will provide $100 million in emergency financial aid for low-income students who qualify. The amounts awarded will be determined locally and made available in April.
According to the Cosumnes River College Financial Aid Office, for a student to qualify they will need to meet three conditions. They need to have been enrolled in the spring 2020 semester by Feb. 23., be eligible for financial aid and be enrolled in entirely online courses.
“The students who make up our college are often those in the most need,” said CRC President Ed Bush. “Many of those students have had to face hardships during the pandemic, including job loss and difficulties with online learning.”
Another $20 million will be provided to bring back students who were forced to leave due to the pandemic and help those at risk of leaving.
“Our enrollment has been hit hard by the pandemic,” said Bush. “Prior to this, we were growing our enrollment for the last six semesters, but now we’ve seen about a 10% loss in enrollment since the pandemic began.”
Bush also said that Los Rios and CRC are both doing everything they can to reach out to students and let them know about this aid. This will include a call center to contact and inform students and work with community college and highschool partners.
Another $6 million will be provided to community colleges, as well as UC’s and CSU’s, to support outreach and application assistance to students who are eligible for CalFresh, according to the statement. Bush said CRC is looking to integrate this with the Hawk Cares program.
“We have a sense that many more students are eligible for Calfresh than are currently signed up,” said Bush. “Based on how many students make use of our food distribution service, we believe many of them could benefit from signing up to CalFresh.”
The food distribution program service, named the Hawk Spot, provided students facing food insecurity a chance to get fresh, nutritious produce. To deal with the pandemic, Hawk Cares has been doing drive-up food distribution days, the most recent being on Feb. 22.
Bush said that in spite of the difficulties of remote learning, it has allowed CRC to improve itself by streamlining its various services and helping instructors become more comfortable with online learning.
“I really think we’re going to be a better institution after this,” said Bush.