Millions to be allocated to OCC students

Orange Coast College will soon begin distributing about $4.5 million in federal funds to students enrolled in classes on campus. Students can receive up to $1,000 based on financial aid status and number of units enrolled in.

Orange Coast College will begin distributing about $4.5 million in funds received from the federal government to students in the coming days, with amounts going to each student based on financial aid status and the number of units students are enrolled in.

The college received $9.2 million in emergency funding from the CARES Act passed by Congress in March. Half of the total amount, or approximately $4.5 million, is required to go directly to aiding students affected by the pandemic.

Students who are enrolled in 12 or more units, and who have the highest financial need, will receive $1,000 via direct deposit through the college’s digital banking service, Bank Mobile. Students enrolled in six to 12 units, with the highest financial need, will receive $750, also via Bank Mobile.

Other full-time students whose financial circumstances have changed due to the pandemic will receive $500 either through Bank Mobile or via check, and those who have not already filled out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application will be provided with an opportunity to complete the application.

Students will be asked to complete a form explaining how COVID-19 has affected their financial or personal situation. Funding through the College’s Student Equity program is available to help students who do not qualify for aid under the CARES Act, including undocumented students attending OCC through the California Dream Act.

“We know that many of our students have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are looking forward to providing some relief as quickly as we can,” OCC President Angelica Suarez said. “At Orange Coast College, providing all of our students access to a high-quality education is our top priority. We are grateful for this federal funding that will support our students in continuing their educational goals.”

The remaining half of the CARES Act funding received by OCC will be used to help offset costs incurred due to the pandemic. OCC’s physical campus closed on March 16 but is open to the public in a remote format. 

The college has announced that its summer session will take place mostly online, with the possibility of some in-person lab classes scheduled for later in the summer, depending on guidance from the state.

OCC also qualifies for additional emergency relief funding from the U.S. Department of Education due to its status as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). The college will receive an additional $734,000 in emergency relief funding to be used toward helping students navigate the crisis caused by COVID-19.

In order to receive HSI designation, an institution must have enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students. To receive AANAPISI designation, the institution must have enrollment of undergraduate students that is at least 10 percent Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students.

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