Cal Poly Cares

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

Cal Poly Cares provides limited financial assistance to currently enrolled Cal Poly students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to an unexpected situation. The grant is designated to offset a short-term financial need and is not intended to replace or supplement financial aid. Therefore, long-term needs can be addressed by meeting with a Financial Aid Counselor to determine available options. Funds are awarded as a grant, and unlike a loan, do not need to be repaid.

Apply for a Cal Poly Cares grant

For additional support, please contact:

Office of the Dean of Students




What types of expenses are covered by Cal Poly Cares?

This grant is intended to have flexible review criteria. The following list is not exhaustive, but provides examples of typical expenses that may be covered by Cal Poly Cares:

  • Replacement of essential personal belongings due to fire, flood, theft, or natural disaster.
  • Emergency or temporary housing assistance.
  • Medications or costs related to emergency medical care (not covered by insurance).
  • Car repairs due to an emergency situation
  • Assistance with rent or utilities due to an emergency situation.
  • Emergency transportation costs related to a family death or illness.
  • Safety related needs (i.e. changing a lock).
  • Financial assistance for DACA/visa renewal fees in the event of unexpected loss of income.
  • Other emergency situations that will impact a student's ability to fully participate and make academic progress at Cal Poly.

The following includes examples of items that will NOT be covered by this Cal Poly Cares. This list is not exhaustive:

  • Penalties, fines, tickets, legal fees, or jail bonds.
  • Normal and anticipated academic expenses (tuition, fees, health insurance, books, rent).
  • Car payments
  • Non-essential utilities, household or furniture costs not related to damage or theft.
  • Costs for entertainment, recreation, or non-emergency travel.
  • Replacement of non-essential personal items due to fire, flood, theft or natural disaster.

Who is eligible to apply for a Cal Poly Cares?

Any student currently enrolled and a matriculated Cal Poly student who:

  • Is able to demonstrate an urgent and unexpected financial hardship resulting from an emergency, accident, or other critical incident.

Priority will be given to students who have not applied for this fund within the past year.

Documentation Guidelines:

Applicant must be able to provide appropriate documentation to verify the circumstances for the funding request. The application is considered incomplete without the appropriate documentation. Examples of documentation include, but are not limited to:

  • Travel-related documentation.
  • Medical bills.
  • Essential utility bills.
  • Police reports or court records.
  • Estimates for anticipated expenses (ex. laptops).
  • Receipts or invoices pertaining to covered expenses listed above.

How much should I apply for?

Cal Poly Cares was established primarily to support emergency circumstances and priority is given to students in the highest financial need tiers. Funding is usually limited to under $2000 (lifetime maximum).  Please note that Cal Poly Cares review committee may not be able to fulfill all requests. 

How are applications reviewed and selected?

The Cal Poly Cares Committee will make every effort to meet reasonable 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 every request. Requests may or may not be approved for the full amount requested. 

The committee will consider the following when reviewing applications:

  • What financial resources have already been utilized, including subsidized loans? Please note unwillingness to take out student loans does not constitute a financial hardship.
  • Has the student completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)/CA DREAM Act Application?

The Cal Poly Cares review committee meets and reviews applications weekly. Students whose requests are approved can expect to receive funds within two weeks of submitting their application (times may vary depending on volume of applications). 

Grants will be processed by the Financial Aid Office. Once posted you will receive a generic "there has been a change to your financial aid" email from the Financial Aid Office, and will need to check your Money Matters tab on the Cal Poly Portal, or your bank account to see the funds. Please, check your direct deposit or mailing address information in your portal to ensure a timely delivery of funds.

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

Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but generally, to be eligible for a Cal Poly Cares grant students must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)/CA DREAM Act Application. If you haven't completed one of these applications, you may be asked to do so. If you have specific questions related to your eligibility, please contact

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. You can also set up an appointment with your a counselor in the Financial Aid Office.  

If you previously declined your student loans and would like them reoffered, please email

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

If you have additional questions regarding Cal Poly Cares please contact the Office of the Dean of Students at and/or leave a message at (805) 756-2472.

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.


Related Content