We in the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office and Cal Student Central (CSC) are coordinating our efforts to support you and your ability to access services while also offering some strategies you may find useful during ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) developments and the campus shift to a temporary alternative instruction format.
Financial Aid & Housing Updates: Spring 2021
The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office remains committed to supporting you in covering the estimated total cost of attendance, wherever you will be living this spring. Financial aid offers support with costs that include housing, tuition, books, food needs, and more, whether you are living on or off campus or with your family. The estimated cost of attendance based on living location is available on our Cost of Attendance page.
Residence hall financial aid “Cost of Attendance” budgets and aid packages were increased at the start of the 2020-21 academic year to reflect the average room and board costs of the room types available this year, which have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please know that this updated room and board is an average cost and is not the actual cost for you.
If your living location for spring 2021 semester is different from your living location during the fall 2020 semester, your budget and aid package will be updated to reflect the change. If you lived in a campus residence hall or apartment in fall, and you will not be living on campus this spring, your spring financial aid budget and aid package will be reduced to reflect the lower cost of living off campus. If you lived in private off-campus housing or with relatives in fall and will be moving into a campus residence hall or apartment, your spring financial aid budget and aid package will be increased to reflect the higher costs. You do not need to take any action to initiate these changes. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will make these updates based on housing contract information it receives from CalHousing. You will receive a notification when your updated budget and aid package is available in CalCentral. Should the standard allocation not match your actual living expenses, you may request a cost of attendance adjustment.
Housing and Utilities are an indirect cost for students not living in campus housing, and your financial aid package is designed to meet both direct and indirect costs, up the total cost of attendance. Financial aid first pays any direct charges on your student account for the semester, such as tuition and fees. If charges exceed your accepted gift aid and loans, you will have a balance due. If your accepted gift aid and loans exceed charges, you will receive the difference as a refund that will help you with indirect costs like utilities, books, and supplies. We’ve created an estimating your refund worksheet that can help you calculate your balance due and/or refund.
What We Are Doing
Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we want to express our continued commitment to your well-being and our dedication to your success while attending Berkeley. We will be working daily to ensure there is readily available support for all students, especially those in need.
CSC is providing online and phone advising for financial aid, registration and billing inquiries. Please call us at 510-664-9181 weekdays between 9 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1 p.m.–4 pm or create a case with your inquiry. We are responding to all inquiries within 1–3 business days.
For those in need of financial assistance as a result of COVID-19, please visit the UC Berkeley COVID-19 Relief Funds website.
Bookmark this page for access to service updates as they become available.
What You Can Do
Activate Direct Deposit to receive refund and emergency funding in your bank account electronically.
Paper refund checks will be processed once a week and mailed to students, not held at CSC. If you expect to receive a refund check, please review and update both your local and permanent addresses in your “Profile” on CalCentral to reflect your current mailing address to avoid mailing delays.
Expected Family Contribution Appeal
If you or your family has experienced a loss of income as a result of COVID-19, we are here to support you so that a change in your family’s financial circumstances does not become a roadblock to your ability to pay for school. You can submit an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) appeal beginning May 1, 2020 through February 5, 2021 via the Berkeley Financial Aid Forms website if the Parent Contribution or Student Contribution from your aid application does not accurately reflect your current situation Before submitting an appeal, please review our Expected Family Contribution flyer to see if this is the right step for you.
Apply for a short-term, interest-free emergency loan via CalCentral if you are experiencing hardship and select the EFT (direct deposit) option. Summer 2020 emergency loans are available May 26, 2020 through August 14, 2020.
Free, Digital Access to Books, Articles and Videos
Are you concerned about the high costs of course materials–whether they’re books, articles, or videos? The Library can help! Before registering for a course, you can ask the instructor whether the materials will be available via e-reserves, which will provide you with free access to the required materials. After you register, you can look this up in bCourses, if the class has a bCourse site. You can also contact the Library’s e-reserves team at email@example.com with questions or comments. Link: https://www.lib.berkeley.edu/help/research-help/course-reserves-covid.
COVID-19 Relief Funding Available
On March 27, the federal government signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law, and established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) which provides emergency funding to higher education institutions. Half of the HEERF dollars must go directly to students in the form of emergency grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis. The campus received $15.2M for direct student support.
Your Financial Aid and Scholarships Office team collaborated with campus partners, including the Division of Equity and Inclusion, the Graduate Division, student government leaders, and the Student Advocate’s Office, on the awarding and distribution of these funds. We also committed to providing students eligible for financial aid under the California Dream Act with equivalent funding from the Student Emergency Fund.
Awards will be emergency grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Equity – Recognize that while all students have been impacted by COVID-19, the pandemic has resulted in disparate outcomes for those who have historically been most marginalized and/or underserved. Also Recognize that some students may have already received relief from campus programs (e.g., Basic Needs, Student Emergency Funding, Housing Refunds, Departmental Emergency Funding).
Efficiency and effectiveness – Distribute as much funding into the hands of students, as soon as possible.
Administrative simplicity – Minimize the burden on students in order to receive this aid as well as the amount of processing that would be needed to award grant aid.
Award Allocation – $11.2 Undergraduate, $4M Graduate.
Which students are eligible to receive funds?
We are using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial need and eligibility for funding from the HEERF.
Students who are AB540 eligible and do not meet federal aid requirements, are encouraged to review the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) eligibility criteria and application filing instructions for more information.
Resources are available for students who do not meet the FAFSA or CADAA eligibility requirements. Students who are ineligible to apply for aid and have housing, food, medical/health and technology needs related to COVID-19 can apply for COVID-19 Student Relief funding. International students—graduates and undergraduates—can request support directly from the Berkeley International Office.
Undergraduates: Actively enrolled Title IV-eligible FAFSA filers as of May 1, 2020 with financial need (based on current 2019–20 FAFSA) greater than $500 who have not already received emergency funding or a cash housing refund greater than $1,000. Grant amounts are based on Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as currently reflected on 2019–20 FAFSA. Students eligible for financial aid under the California Dream Act will be evaluated using the same eligibility criteria (based on current 2019–20 CADAA) and receive equivalent funding from the Student Emergency Fund.
|Expected Family Contribution||Grant Amount|
|$1 – $2,500||$1,200|
|$2,501 – $5,000||$1,100|
|$5,001 – $7,500||$950|
|$7,501 – $10,000||$750|
Graduate Students: Actively enrolled Title IV-eligible FAFSA filers as of May 15, 2020 with financial need (based on 2019–20 or 2020–21 FAFSA) greater than $1,000 who have not already received emergency funding greater than $1,000. Students eligible for financial aid under the California Dream Act will be evaluated using the same eligibility criteria (based on 2019–20 or 2020–21 CADAA) and receive equivalent funding from the Student Emergency Fund.
Graduate student awards are $1,000.
Additional funding: May be awarded on a case-by-case basis to undergraduate and graduate students who have submitted a Cost of Attendance Adjustment Request by the May 15 deadline and have not already received funding to cover additional expenses that have resulted from the COVID-19 emergency and move to remote instruction.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
For spring 2020, units dropped on or after March 4th (the date when Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency for California as a result of COVID-19), and units with incomplete grades (“I” grades) will be exempted from the quantitative component of SAP.
What does this mean?
- To maintain in good SAP standing, students must:
Pass 67% of the units they’ve attempted (referred to as PACE); and
- Not exceed 150% of the published length of their program, measured in units for undergraduates and terms for graduate students based on the program length, (referred to as maximum timeframe).
- Maintain a minimum, cumulative GPA, set at 2.0 for Undergraduate students and 3.0 for Graduate students
What has changed for SAP?
Units dropped on or after March 4 and “I” grades will not count as attempted or completed in the Financial Aid SAP calculation for the pace and maximum time frame calculation.
What has not changed for SAP?
The relief does not apply to classes where the student earns a NP, DNP, or an F grade. Students that earn a NP, DNP, or an F grade will continue to account as attempted but not completed for the Spring 2020 term. Please see our SAP policy for more information.