In March, as COVID–19 hit the U.S. and CCA shifted its spring semester online, many students and their families were suddenly faced with economic uncertainty due to unemployment and other financial instability. In response, CCA launched a donor-supported Student Emergency Fund to assist with basic immediate needs like food, household items, and lower-cost supplies.
Over the last five months, 108 generous donors contributed to the emergency fund, which has raised $30,686. As of August 18, CCA had distributed over $30,000 from the fund to 54 students through direct grants and gift cards to supermarkets, general retailers, and art supply stores.
“As an undocumented student at an art school, getting extra funds has been nearly impossible for me,” says Luis Arturo Gomez-Escobedo (BArch 2023). “I’m grateful with CCA once again that they were able to offer me some extra help. Thanks to their emergency fund, I will be able to cover 80% of my meal plan for this semester.”
A recent Interaction Design graduate student who also received a grant through the fund says, “In the hard times through this pandemic, which also caused our program to get extended by a few months, CCA’s emergency funds have helped alleviate some of the stress around my day-to-day costs. I’m grateful for having a month of groceries and essentials covered.”
Another source of support for students affected by the financial impact of the pandemic is the federal CARES Act program, from which CCA received a total of $1,397,586. Per the terms of the program, half the funds went to institutional relief (primarily to provide housing refunds to students in the spring semester), and the other half ($698,793) is being awarded directly to financial-aid-eligible CCA students as emergency grants. Disbursement of this aid will continue through the 2020–2021 academic year and is being publicly tracked here. The grants range from $500 to $3,000 and are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis by assessing each student’s individual CARES Act request.
Students can request assistance through the emergency fund or CARES Act funding by contacting Financial Aid. Find instructions on how to complete a request here.
Students have also been inspired to help their peers during this time of crisis. In July, a group of CCA students created an independent GoFundMe campaign to support working class and BIPOC CCA students through unrestricted grants and to help with the cost of art supplies and living expenses in the Bay Area. The fundraiser has already raised more than $18,000 toward its $35,000 goal.
CCA has also seen increased interest from donors to contribute to scholarship funds to help students during this period of tremendous economic pressure. Funding scholarships, especially those that support working class and BIPOC students, has been an ongoing priority for CCA. Last year CCA distributed $25 million in scholarships with $16.1 million of that going to diversity students. This summer, amid worldwide protests against racism and injustice, CCA set a fundraising goal to secure an additional $1.5 million for scholarships, of which $635,000 for diversity scholarships has been raised so far.
As the pandemic continues, many students are still in need of additional financial support, and donations for CCA’s Student Emergency Fund are ongoing.
“When CCA accepted my request for the emergency fund, COVID had hit India pretty badly and the bank that I had taken a loan from wasn’t functioning in its entirety,” said Aksharika Raja, a graduate student in the DMBA program. “Because of which, I was experiencing delays in tuition fee remittances and the Target gift card I received from CCA helped me sustain my day-to-day grocery expenses during that time. I also recently received a direct deposit as CCA was distributing the remaining funds. I’m able to save this to spend on groceries or a COVID–19 test if I need one in the coming months.”