Currently enrolled Southwestern College students can apply for $4.62 million in federal relief funds awarded to the college—making Southwestern the first community college in the region to disburse the federal funds.
The Federal Emergency Relief Grant, commonly known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides students much-needed grants to address the disruption of campus operations due to the Coronavirus. Students may use the funds for food, housing, course materials, healthcare, technology and child care. The federal CARES funding is different, and separate, from the SWC Cares emergency grants.
Southwestern College created an application process that includes several questions to determine the level of funding for which each student is eligible. Students will access the application only after they have signed into the MySWC portal. Grant awards will range from $200 to $700, depending on the number of units in which a student is enrolled and other mitigating factors, including job loss or participation in a number of college support services.
The first distribution of funding is expected on or around May 18, and the funding will be disbursed by Southwestern College’s financial aid department until it runs out.
“The pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to our students and college operations,” said Governing Board President Nora E. Vargas. “While Southwestern and its partners have done so much to provide free technology, food and other assistance, we are grateful to be able to put these dollars directly into the hands of our students.”
The Federal Emergency Relief Grant will be distributed to students through BankMobile, the organization that currently distributes all financial aid funds for Southwestern College. The college’s financial aid office will create new profiles for students not currently enrolled in BankMobile.
The grant funds are non-taxable and do not need to be repaid. Students can only apply once for the funding.
The Federal Emergency Relief Grant is currently not available for undocumented students, DACA students, AB540 students or students enrolled in noncredit courses. Southwestern College, however, has other funding available for students currently ineligible for the federal relief grant.
Over the weekend, the college received an overwhelming number of applications for the SWC CARES emergency grant from students who were not eligible for the Federal Emergency Relief Aid. The requests exceed the amount of funding available, so Southwestern College has closed the locally funded SWC CARES application. Staff will review the applications, which are on a first-come, first-served basis.
The overwhelming response underscores the financial distress many Southwestern College students are under due to this pandemic. If you would like to support SWC’s Emergency Grant program, please consider a donation to the college Foundation.
“At Southwestern College, we are committed to continue working with our Foundation and other entities to assist our students–especially our students who have few other resources,” Vargas said. “We urge our California legislators and the governor to provide assistance to our immigrant students during this pandemic.”
The application for the Federal Emergency Relief Grant remains open until all funds are expended.