California Colleges to Receive $300M in Aid for Students Financially Impacted by COVID-19


DVC’s campus will remain closed until Contra Costa Health Services shelter-in-place order is rescinded. (Photo courtesy of DVC)

Cheasanee Hetherington, Staff member

California Community Colleges will be receiving $300 million in federal financial aid as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), which will be used to support students struggling financially with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

The aid, signed into law by President Trump on March 27, will help cover costs related to college attendance over the next several months and provide students with important resources ranging from technology to meals.

“We feel the resources will help many students get through these next several weeks, if not months,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, speaking on a statewide conference call about COVID-19 with college media students on Wednesday.

As Diablo Valley College students, like students everywhere, continue to struggle with the transition to remote classes, administrators hoped the increase in aid could help students obtain better technological resources for learning online. Chancellor Oakley said colleges have already begun giving away laptops and increasing Wi-Fi access in parking lots.

Associated Students of DVC recently conducted a survey where students rated their transition to remote classes on a one-to-ten scale. Nearly two thirds of students, or 64 percent, reported a six or below, indicating they were struggling with or had yet to adapt to the change to online classes.

DVC’s campus will remain closed until Contra Costa Health Services shelter-in-place order is rescinded, said Gabriel Harven, Admission and Records Office supervisor, during a public DVC conference call.

Harven also said DVC classes “will be online for the summer,” as colleges across the state are preparing for the shelter-in-place order to extend for months to come. And during this week’s CCC teleconference, Chancellor Oakley said social distancing protocols may even extend into the fall semester.

“We expect there will continue to be some sort of social distancing protocol in the fall,” said Oakley. “Even if we can come back to campus, it won’t be the way we were used to.”

Oakley said colleges need to “continue to move courses onto Canvas” in case the fall semester is impacted by the continuing presence of COVID-19 within the statewide community.