April 17, 2020
To the Campus Community,
California is making strides in flattening the curve of new COVID-19 cases. Despite this positive news, we know that we have a long journey ahead of us to protect our collective health. Every day, we see the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on our friends, our neighbors, our families and ourselves. Through every challenge and every obstacle, we continue to focus on our students’ education and well-being.
As I shared last week, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act offers financial assistance to many students and funding to help mitigate the financial impact on CSUN. First and foremost, I want you to know we are developing an expedited online application process so students can access these critical CARES Act funds as soon as they can be disbursed. We plan to announce more details on this process next week and begin accepting applications soon thereafter. We expect eligible students will begin receiving funds by early/mid-May. Eligibility criteria and award amounts are being finalized for students with demonstrated COVID-19 related expenses. Our hope is that every student with need will be able to access these emergency funds and continue their progress toward earning degrees.
Students may use these funds for emergency financial needs related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Expected allowable expenses include those that are a part of the student cost of attendance, such as tuition and fees; on-campus room and board; housing and food allowance for off-campus students; and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care. It can also include other expenses like technology costs, expenses related to a disability, medical/dental bills, or costs for eligible study-abroad programs.
This pandemic’s economic burden on CSUN and our auxiliaries is $19.5 million and growing. This total includes unanticipated expenditures for technology to help students and employees manage the shift to virtual instruction, emergency pay for employees providing essential on-campus services, and supplies to help CSUN ensure the health and cleanliness of our campus. We have also experienced revenue reductions across the university — including refunds for housing, meal plans and parking, as well as losing conference revenue and food and retail sales.
While CARES Act campus funding will help us mitigate some of the initial impacts, we anticipate more significant financial impacts in the fall semester and beyond. Therefore, we are instituting measures to help us prepare for the near- and long-term financial fallout from COVID-19. These include significantly limiting hiring, limiting non-essential purchases, deferring scheduled facility renewal projects, and utilizing limited cash reserves within the most financially affected areas such as Student Housing and parking.
Throughout every division and our auxiliaries, committed leaders and their teams create and implement plans for every possibility, helping us navigate these turbulent times. We are fortunate to have such strong leaders who are adept at adjusting course as we move forward.
Friday Moment of Sunshine
I am so thankful for and continually amazed and inspired by the tenacity of our campus community. I want to conclude this week’s message with a few examples to brighten your day. At a meeting earlier this week, our deans shared story after story of faculty and staff innovation. It was heartwarming to hear each one of them sing the praises of creative and constructive faculty caring for the needs of students. The Institute for Sustainability, Associated Students and others have taken our Earth Week activities virtual. CSUNposium took place virtually as well, highlighting the many examples of student creativity. Associated Students, led by President Diana Vicente, created a wonderful rendition of our Alma Mater, Hail to the Matadors, showing, yet again, how distance cannot squash the strength we have as a community. Finally, while you are using Zoom for meetings or classes, you can show your CSUN pride and demonstrate how we are #CSUNasONE with custom Zoom backgrounds.
Please visit CSUN’s COVID-19 site for updates, and be well.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.