CARES Act Fund Report

The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provides federal emergency grants to help students cover some of the costs of transition from in-person to online learning, as required by Contra Costa County and the State of California in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting

On April 11, 2020, Saint Mary’s College of California signed and submitted the Certification and Agreement form requesting $1,262,868, which represented the full amount of the “Direct to Student” allocation of the emergency financial aid grants provided from the CARES Act.

As Saint Mary’s College has been a completely onsite campus with no online degrees or entirely online classes, the College assumed that all of its students enrolled in the spring 2020 terms will have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations and moving of all of its face-to-face classes to a completely online environment. Since students and families have varying levels of financial strength to be able to handle emergency expenses, the College tiered these emergency grants based upon the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) as an acceptable indicator of a family’s financial strength and ability to handle unforeseen expenses as follows:

Very High Need students: EFC of 0 to 6,000 $750
High Need Non-Pell eligible students: EFC of 6,001 to 20,000 $325
Lower Need Students: EFC greater than 20,000 $200


Of the 3,479 matriculating students enrolled in the spring 2020 terms at the College, 2,329 were identified as eligible to participate in the grant program under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus, eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. As of May 22, 2020, the College has awarded $1,039,625. 

The College realized that some of the enrolled students might not have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2019/2020 academic year, and thus were not in the initial review for eligibility. These students were invited to complete a FAFSA by May 15, 2020, and awards were posted May 20, 2020.

The remaining portion of the funds received will be available to respond to individual applications for assistance submitted from eligible students. All students are invited to complete the application to the President’s Emergency Fund. Through the combined resources of the private gifts to the President’s Emergency Fund and the remaining portion of the CARES Act federal funds, it is the hope of the College that those students who have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due the Coronavirus will receive relief.

In all communications regarding the transmittal of the CARES Act funds, a statement to the student was included that acknowledged the receipt of federal funds and that by their acceptance of the grant they were certifying that they had incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations.