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COVID-19 and impact on Financial Aid and Scholarships

  1. How do I get in contact with the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office?

    For your safety, and the safety of others, we recommend you contact us in the following order of priority:

    1. Your best option for reaching us is via Virtual Counseling Monday through Friday 10am to 2pm via Zoom at UCSD.ZOOM.US/MY/FASZOOM1.
    2. You may email your questions to Most questions receive responses within 3 to 4 business days.
    3. Telephone hours are limited to Wednesday and Thursday 9am to 2pm. Staff availability over the phone is extremely limited and will result in long wait times.
    4. For Winter 2021, we are available for in-person appointments on a limited basis. Requests for appointments can be made on our online scheduler.
  2. On my 2020-21 FAFSA/CA Dream Act Application, I indicated I will be Living Off Campus for the upcoming year, but my financial aid package on TritonLink shows I am Living with Parent. I am living in an apartment this fall and academic year and not with my parents. How can I fix this?

    To update your housing status to Living Off Campus, please provide to supporting documentation, such as a copy of your lease agreement showing your name and rental dates for 2020-21. Once received by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, your 2020-21 cost of attendance and financial aid package will be revised.

  3. CARES Act

    3a) What is the CARES Act?

    The CARES Act is federal legislation that provides a variety of financial support to individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19. One part of this federal program allocates money to UC San Diego to be awarded to students who may be experiencing additional financial expenses due to Coronavirus.

    Based on the signed and returned Certification and Agreement submitted to the Department of Education, UC San Diego acknowledges to award no less than 50% of the CARES Act in financial aid grants to students. Totals below have been distributed to students under Section 180004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of December 16, 2020.

    Total amount UC San Diego has received for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students $17,444,885
    Total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students $17,396,946
    Estimated total number of students eligible to participate in programs
    under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965
    Total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant 15,339

    In addition to funding for emergency financial grants for student, the CARES Act also established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Institutional Portion to allow higher education institutions to cover costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus. The funding is intended to cover the cost of:

    • providing refunds to students for room and board, tuition, and other fees,
    • purchasing laptops, equipment, and additional software subscriptions to enable students to transition to distance learning,
    • campus safety and operations, including disinfecting and cleaning, purchasing of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, reconfiguring facilities to promote social distancing, and
    • any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus, so long as such costs do not include payment to contractors for the provision of pre-enrollment recruitment activities; endowments; or capital outlays associated with facilities related to athletics, sectarian instruction, or religious worship.

    UC San Diego was awarded $17,444,884 for Institutional impacts and is applying the funding towards:

    • $9.3M to cover room and board refunds paid to students,
    • $4.5M for a pay for a portion of the Return to Learn initiative including outdoor classroom structures, infrastructure, equipment, and security, facilities health and safety reconfiguration and wastewater testing.
    • $2.6M for remote computer labs and other remote learning software, laptops, and remote teaching supplies, and
    • $1.0M to hire 300 student employees as Triton Health Ambassadors to assist with the Return to Learn initiative by providing resources, education, and outreach to campus community on safe and healthy behaviors on campus and in the classroom.

    The US Department of Education requires that quarterly reporting on the use of the Institutional Portion of the HEERF be posted on the same webpage as to the emergency financial aid grants and is available here.

    3b) How can I get a CARES Act Grant?


    Undergraduates who receive Pell, Cal, or UC Grant aid during the academic year and are enrolled in 6 or more units for spring will automatically receive spring awards of $900 to assist with COVID-19 related expenses. Grants began disbursing May 6 directly to students.

    Undergraduate Special Request funding has been fully awarded and is no longer available. Funds were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.


    Graduate Special Request funding is no longer available. Funds were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

    3c) Are CARES Act Grants available for summer enrollment?

    Yes. Undergraduates who receive Federal Pell Grant or UC San Diego Summer Grant aid during the summer and are enrolled in 6 or more units for summer will automatically receive summer awards of $500 to assist with COVID-19 related expenses.

    Students who participate in Summer Bridge will automatically receive technology grants to assist with technology expenses.

    3d) Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for the CARES Act Grant?

    Students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens (permanent residents with a Permanent Resident Card - formerly known as an Alien Registration Receipt Card; conditional permanent resident – I-551C; other eligible noncitizen with an Arrival-Departure Record, I-94 from the Department of Homeland Security showing Refugee, Asylum Granted, Indefinite Parole, Humanitarian Parole, or Cuban-Haitian Entrant; or a citizen of the Republic of Palau (PW), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), or the Federated States of Micronesia (FM)).

    3e) Do undocumented students qualify for the CARES Act Grant?

    Although undocumented students are not eligible for federal funding, UC San Diego has committed funding for undocumented students to offer spring awards to match $900 grants to enrolled students who qualify for grant aid as outlined in #2b.

    3f) Does the CARES Act Grant affect my other aid?

    No. The CARES Act Grant does not affect other aid students are receiving. However, students who have received Basic Needs Emergency Grants for spring are ineligible to receive Special Request CARES Act Grants.

    3g) Does the CARES Act Grant have to be repaid?

    No. CARES Act Grants are free money and do not have to be repaid.

    3h) Do I have to report the CARES Act Grant to the IRS as income?

    No. Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. This grant is not includible in your gross income.

  4. What happens if I move out of campus housing for Spring 2020 and move home with my parents?

    If you currently live on-campus and decide to move home with your parents, this would result in a reduction to your Spring cost of attendance and likely a reduction to your financial aid for the Spring 2020 quarter. If the change is made after financial aid is disbursed, you may be billed. Reductions to financial aid grants could be up to approximately $2,200 for Spring 2020.

    If you do not move home with parents, but instead move to an off-campus location (lease agreements would be required), your financial aid should not be impacted.

  5. Will my financial aid change if I enroll in less than 12 units for Spring 2020?

    If you enroll in less than 12 units, your grants and scholarships may be reduced. Pell Grant and Cal Grant pay for the term based on enrolled units. You would get 50% of the Spring award for enrollment of 6-8 units, and 75% of the award for enrollment of 9-11 units. Other grants could be reduced as well. Most scholarships require full-time enrollment of 12 units.

  6. My Education Abroad Program (EAP) was canceled, what will happen to my financial aid?

    The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office and Study Abroad Program are working closely based on daily updates on program cancelations. Once the Financial Aid Sand Scholarships Office receives official notification from the central UCEAP Office we are adjusting student’s financial aid packages and sending notifications. As each financial aid package and student is different the impacts to financial aid, and your overall bill may vary.

    If the program has not yet started for Spring Semester or Quarter generally the aid package is canceled and if you return for Spring a student is repackaged and notifications are sent.

    If the program has started the financial aid office will complete the federal Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation to see how much financial aid is earned based on the term completed, bill the difference as required by regulations and repackage the student will aid if returning for the Spring 2020 quarter. Notification emails are sent once the update is made to your financial aid Tritonlink and on your UCEAP bill.

    Please allow up to 3-5 business days once the program is canceled to see the update to your financial aid package and billing statement

    For questions on you UCEAP bill please contact

  7. My financial aid requirement says I must “Present your ORIGINAL documentation in person or notarized version to a financial aid counselor” The office is not open and there are no open notaries…what do I do?

    As of April 3rd, 2020, the Department of Education advised schools that they can start accepting copies of Custom Verification forms (“Statement of Educational Purpose”) to satisfy this verification requirement. In addition, if you are required to submit documentation of Citizenship or Non-Citizenship status copies may also be acceptable on exception. Please see your “Required Documents and Tasks” on your Financial Aid Award notification to access and required forms.

    The Financial Aid and Scholarships staff are monitoring incoming mail and fax, and advise effected students that documents may be mailed to:

    UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    Mail Code 0013
    La Jolla CA 92093-0013

    Or fax to: 858-534-5459

    Please note: to protect your personal information and minimize the risk of a data security issue please do not email any documents to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.