CSU CARES Student Grants

Funding Methodology

Following guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and CSU Chancellor’s Office, Sonoma State established three operational principles to guide the distribution of these grants:

  • Student success
    To help alleviate financial distress students are experiencing due to COVID-19.
  • Equity
    All students have experienced some type of impact due to COVID-19, but those impacts have been uneven, with greater negative impacts on students from historically underserved communities. Students should receive different levels of grant aid proportional to their financial circumstances
  • Timeliness and administrative simplicity
    Ensure access for the greatest number of eligible students possible to receive emergency aid as needed, with minimal administrative processes.

With these principles as our guide, we developed a process to allocate the CARES Act to students as quickly as possible, prioritizing students with the greatest financial need.

CSU CARES Grant Eligibility

All undocumented students enrolled in Spring 2020 as of May 15 are eligible for grants.

All international students enrolled in Spring 2020 as of May 15 and who paid the Associated Students fee in Spring 2020 are eligible for grants.

Students who have received financial aid up to the cost of attendance may not qualify for a CSU CARES grant or may qualify for a reduced amount.

Phase 1: Automatic Grants for Undocumented Students - CLOSED

Undocumented students with the greatest financial need as determined by their complete and current AB 540 affidavit (Dream Application) on-file with SSU will receive automatic grants ranging from $125 to $1,900. The grant amount is based upon each student’s expected family contribution and the number of units the student is currently enrolled in. Please see the table below for award amounts.

Undocumented Student Automatic Grant Amounts, Based on Family Contribution and Enrollment
Expected Family Contribution Current Number of Enrolled Units
  12 or more 9-11 6-8 1-5
0 $1,900 $1,425 $950 $475
1 - 2,000 $1,300 $975 $650 $325
2,001 - 4,000 $1,000 $750 $500 $250
4,001 - 5,576 $500 $375 $250 $125


This is intended to provide immediate, meaningful assistance to students who already had a significant documented financial need and whose needs have grown during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Students who receive Phase 1 grants will be notified through their University email accounts. No additional action is required.

Phase 2: Application for Grants - CLOSED

Undocumented students who did not receive an automatic award and international students who paid the Associated Students fee in Spring 2020 can apply for a CSU CARES grant up to $750 thanks to the financial support provided by Associated Students.

Expenses to be considered for CSU CARES Grant eligibility are those expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Allowable expense items are food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and/or child-care.

The application period opens Friday, May 29 at 8 a.m. and runs through Friday, June 5 at 5 p.m. Please contact Rosa Salamanca  at the Dream Center or Katie O’Brien in the Global Engagement Office for an application or for questions.  The awarding of Phase 2 grants will be based on an assessment of student expenses associated with the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the limited amount of funding, the maximum grant award for applicants is $750. Students submitting applications should only ask for funding to cover allowable expenses caused by this disruption.

Accessing Your Grant Money

Phase 1 and Phase 2 grants will be sent to your bank via direct deposit if you have enrolled through your MySSU student account. Please verify your bank account information is correct in your MySSU student account.

If you have not enrolled in direct deposit through MySSU, a check will be mailed to your mailing address. Be sure to verify your mailing address is correct in your MySSU student account.

Given the high-profile nature of this funding, be alert for phishing attacks. Remember, Sonoma State will never ask you to email/text your password or ask you to verify your banking information via email.

Need Help?

Financial Aid and Scholarship Office
For questions related to financial aid and FAFSA 
707-664-2389 (M–F, 10 a.m.– 2 p.m.) 
finaid@sonoma.edu(link sends e-mail).

Seawolf Service Center
For questions related to direct deposit and mailing of checks
707-664-2308 (M–F, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.)
seawolf.servicecenter@sonoma.edu(link sends e-mail).

Basic Needs Intervention Program
The Basic Needs Intervention Program is a comprehensive effort through the Division of Student Affairs that identifies and immediately serves some of SSU's most at-risk students.