Cal Poly Cares

Cal Poly is committed to creating an environment for all students to reach their full potential and thrive.

Cal Poly recently received funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and identified additional funding sources to provide much-needed emergency grants to any student who has incurred expenses due to the disruption of campus operations related to COVID-19. These expenses may include food, housing, technology, transportation and medical costs, among others.

Prior to applying for a grant, please read through the FAQs below. Applications are reviewed by a committee weekly and students will receive a decision by email to their Cal Poly email address.

Apply for a Cal Poly Cares grant

For additional support, please contact:

Office of the Dean of Students




Who is eligible to apply for a grant?

Any student enrolled during the spring quarter who has experienced expenses related to the disruption of campus operations from COVID-19 is eligible to apply for financial assistance via the Cal Poly Cares program. This includes students who are not federal Title IV eligible such as international and undocumented students. 

Student emergency grants cover expenses incurred due to the current COVID-19 situation, and may include food, housing, technology, transportation and medical, among other costs. Examples may also include:

  • Paying rent while taking classes remotely due to loss of employment.
  • Travel expenses incurred returning to your permanent residence as a result of the shelter-at-home order.
  • Purchasing technology (hardware and software) to take classes remotely.
  • Paying medical expenses directly related to COVID-19.

Please note that this funding opportunity is not intended to replace lost income due to job furloughs or layoffs.


How much should I apply for? 

We suggest that you determine the expenses that you have incurred and ask for a reasonable amount that will assist you. Because so many students have been financially impacted by the pandemic, we expect these funds to go quickly. As such, we may not be able to fund all requests. 


If I received a block CARES Act grant from Financial Aid, can I also apply for a Cal Poly Cares grant?

Yes. Although our hope is that the block grant helps, we understand that you may still have expenses that require additional assistance. 

Yes, if you incurred expenses related to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis after the shelter-in-place order took effect and campus operations transitioned to functioning remotely.

How are applications reviewed and selected?

The Cal Poly Cares application has been revised to ask specific questions that allow us to identify students eligible for federal CARES Act or Cal Poly emergency student grants. We will make every effort to meet the requests with the funds we have available; however, depending on the amount requested and the volume of applications, we may not be able to cover 100 percent of every request.

If I have a financial need but have not applied for FAFSA, can I still submit Cal Poly Cares application?

Yes, if your expense is due to the interruption of campus operations from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are funds available specifically for that purpose. The Cal Poly Cares application has been revised to identify the students who meet the federal funding requirements, but those who do not qualify can still be considered for Cal Poly student emergency grant funds.

While we are using the Cal Poly Cares application to assist in identifying and awarding federal and institutional emergency grants related to COVID-19 expenses, the Cal Poly Cares program is still available to support students with financial needs unrelated to COVID-19.


How much did Cal Poly receive in CARES Act funds and how will these funds be distributed to students?

Cal Poly received $7 million for student emergency grants. In keeping with decisions made at other CSUs, $6.2 million in block grants has been given to our lower-income students, with grant amounts ranging from $300 to $1,600, based on federal expected family contribution (EFC) and enrollment.  The remaining $800,000 and additional $700,000 in identified funds will be distributed via the Cal Poly Cares program.

Are there other services available to support students in need?

Cal Poly has several other sources of support for students who are struggling to make ends meet. To learn more, please visit the Cal Poly Basic Needs website.

If you previously declined your student loans and would like them reoffered, please e-mail


Opportunities for Support

To show your commitment for our fellow Mustangs in these areas, please give to a Cal Poly student today. Any contribution is deeply appreciated.



Cal Poly employees may also donate through payroll deduction.


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