Cougar Care Network continues to provide for students during COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly made an impact on the public’s health, however, the effects of the virus don’t end there. Thousands of Americans may find themselves financially impacted. These may include some CSUSM students and their families. If you are one of these students, please know that the Cougar Care Network may be able to direct you to a resource.

Bonnie Campbell, the care manager of the Cougar Care Network, explained that students can contact the school’s financial aid office and inquire about the Student Emergency Fund and the Student Emergency Loan. “Any student who is currently enrolled is eligible to apply for each of the programs,” said Campbell. These programs are available to enrolled students who are currently facing an unforeseen financial emergency or crisis.

Campbell said that an unforeseen financial emergency could be, “For instance if a student has been in a car accident. They had to have major repairs that were unexpected and couldn’t afford it, then they could apply for the emergency fund or the emergency loan…with COVID-19 we’re seeing a lot more students apply to because they lost their jobs…”

However, Campbell stressed the major difference between the Student Emergency Fund and the Student Emergency Loan, “The Emergency Fund is like a grant. It does not need to be paid back and it’s $250. The Emergency Loan is up to $500, and that is a loan so it would have to be paid back [in eight weeks].”

The Student Emergency Fund and the Student Emergency Loan are not the only forms of financial assistance for CSUSM students. As listed under the Cougar Care Network, United Way is offering emergency assistance to low-wage workers whose work hours have been reduced or laid off due to the pandemic and need help paying utility costs and housing payments.

There is also a Scholly COVID-19 Student Relief Fund where $200 is being offered to students impacted by COVID-19. Campbell mentioned that students enrolled at CSUSM can apply for any or all of these financial assistance programs if needed.

“There’s no limit to applying for assistance…if a student wants to apply for assistance they may not be eligible for all of these funds. There may be different criteria. If a student is in need, I would encourage applying to everything.” Campbell shared, “I know that so many students that I spoke to in the past feel that, ‘Oh I’m not as bad off as someone else. I just want to make sure that money is saved for those in need’…but we just encourage students to consider your own situation and it’s wonderful to care about others. But if you are in need and have this unexpected financial circumstance, know that funds are for students who are exactly in your situation and don’t hesitate to apply.”

Food assistance is also available for students.

If a student has a need that is not addressed in the services under the Cougar Care Network, Campbell recommends that students dial 2-1-1.

“They’re kind of the main database of community agencies that provide resources of all kinds throughout the county… they can assist with housing, utility, they can provide resources that we may not be aware of.”

The resources that the Cougar Care Network has available for students are not limited to what is mentioned in this article. Campbell shared, “There are also some resources for managing virtual learning, coping with things at home, and trying to adjust to the anxieties of what’s going on.” Campbell further shared, “The other thing I would recommend too because it can be a little overwhelming to look at this long list. We really encourage students if they are struggling at all to reach out to us…We want to support students. By phone or email, we want to connect students to what we know is available for their particular situation.”

For the availability of services and any concerns that a student may have about their own situation, please contact 760- 750-7627 or email [email protected] csusm.edu.