Many students, just like you, have questions on how COVID-19 will affect their community college education. We know you are likely adjusting to lots of changes, so supporting your success at a California community college is our top priority and we are working hard to ensure you can continue your education. By embracing new thinking, new ideas and new ways of online learning we will all get through this difficult time together.
Below are answers to commonly asked questions about financial aid, transfer, career training programs, online learning, support resources and enrolling in community college. Be sure to check this page often for new information and updates.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office is working closely with the governor’s office, the California Department of Public Health and local colleges to mitigate effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Nearly all California community colleges are working to transition educational services to online delivery, with many closing or suspending classes for days or weeks, including for scheduled and rescheduled spring breaks, to make the switch.
Visit the California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response website to keep up with the latest COVID-19 news in California.
Students are encouraged to follow these four tips to be successful when learning online.
- Log into your course ahead of time to review the learning objectives and any assignments. Assess the workload for the week and put the due dates on your calendar. Having a mental picture of what's ahead is the best thing you can do to prepare each week
- Aim to have all of your assignments done prior to the due date. Why? Because life happens and when you wait until the last minute, you're more likely to have problems meeting the due date.
- If you identify a challenge with meeting a due date, contact your instructor right away. Instructors are more willing to be flexible when contacted in advance of a due date.
- Use the Canvas To-Do List and Calendar to track and stay current on your assignments. They are so helpful.
Admissions, Transfer and Grades
Because of the unexpected transition to online and distance learning, many students and teachers are experiencing online learning for the first time. Recognizing the challenges involved, several changes have been implemented regarding grading protocol. Among them:
Retaking a Course: Students can retake a course attempted during the pandemic and colleges are being directed to disregard the previous grade when computing a GPA once the course has been retaken and completed.
Deadlines for Pass/No Pass Grades: The deadline for selecting a pass or no pass option instead of a letter grade is being waived. Students should, however, be aware that the University of California and California State University systems require courses for a major to be completed with a letter grade and many transfer institutions restrict the number of transfer units that may be taken as P/NP.
Probation or Unsatisfactory Progress: ‘No pass’ grades will not be considered in probation and dismissal procedures. Students attempting to complete a course under the current situation, rather than withdraw, will not be negatively affected should they ultimately be unable to successfully complete the course.
Yes. Colleges may refund student fees, including enrollment fees, if a student needs to withdraw due to an epidemic or other extraordinary conditions. Colleges should not record any withdrawal (W) or grade on the transcript of a student who withdraws under these circumstances. An excused withdrawal (EW) may be recorded; but in all cases, a withdrawal due to extraordinary conditions should not affect a student’s academic progress, academic probation, or ability to repeat a course.
Students should make sure they are taking any major prep courses for a letter grade. To date, there has not been an extension by the University of California to the temporary policy that was in place for winter/spring/summer 2020 regarding the Pass/No Pass.
For more information on the changes, visit University of California Admissions.
Student Services and Financial Aid
Students will continue to have access to financial aid resources, including those from student loans
For federal student financial aid (Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Grants, Federal Workstudy and Federal Direct Loans) guidance will be issued by the U.S. Department of Education as it becomes available. Please see the Guidance for Interruptions of study related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) for information about Federal Work Study.
Community College Promise Grants: there is no impact to eligibility for the Promise Grants, and no penalty if a Promise Grant recipient is unable to complete all attempted coursework in a single semester. Promise Grant recipients must make satisfactory progress to retain the grants. Students should work with their local college campus to determine any actions needed to retain these grants.
California College Promise Program: Students that typically are not eligible for other types of financial aid may be eligible for a waiver of enrollment fees if they qualify as “first-year, first-time" students. As of today the law required students to maintain full-time status to retain eligibility from term to term. There is some flexibility on the number of units for students with disabilities.
Cal Grants: The California Student Aid Commission has not issued guidance to date on any changes to the Cal Grant eligibility requirements. We will post updates here as we receive them.
Student Success and Completion Grant: Students must be taking either 12 units or 14 units at the time of payment. If the student reduces the number of units after being paid for the term, there is no impact for that term, or for following terms.
While some colleges are able to maintain the operations of their food pantries, many colleges have been forced to limit their hours of service or close completely. Listed below are helpful links to access food resources.
Federal Work Study: The U.S. Department of Education has authorized payment of Work Study wages regardless of whether a student is actually working. Please see the Guidance for Interruptions of study related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) for information about Federal Work Study.
CalWORKs Work Study: State law does not currently allow payment of CalWORKs work study wages if students are not actually working in their work study job. The Chancellor’s Office is currently working with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) for the authority to allow work study wages to continue to be paid during the COVID-19 crisis. We will send out a communication if this decision changes, and the response to this question will be updated accordingly.
EOPS Work Study: Federal law gives institutions the authority to make Federal Work Study payments to disaster-affected students under certain limited circumstances, and the US Department of Education, Office of Federal Student Aid has provided guidance addressing students receiving Federal Work Study who are unable to work due to COVID-19 closures (such as school or employer closures or student quarantines). These students may continue to be paid under certain circumstances.
USCIS encourages all individuals, including those without permanent status, who have symptoms that resemble Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to seek necessary medical treatment or preventive services. The receipt of such treatment or preventive services will not be considered by USCIS as part of a future Public Charge analysis.
On March 13, USCIS announced that the agency will not consider: testing, treatment, or preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID – 19 in a public charge determination, even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits, as defined in the rule (e.g. federally funded Medicaid).
If you live and work in a jurisdiction where disease prevention methods such as social distancing or quarantine are in place, or where your employer, school, or university voluntarily shuts down operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit the USCIS website for additional information.
Students without a computer should check with their local institution about any laptop loaner programs that may be available. Students should also communicate with their individual instructors on how they may access course materials or live lessons through mobile phone options. Affordable and reduced cost laptops and internet access is available through the Foundation for California Community Colleges’ CollegeBuys digital support and services program. This homegrown digital access program is focused on supporting community college students, faculty, staff and institutions. The Foundation is the nonprofit auxiliary of the Chancellor’s Office.
Several companies are providing reduced cost or free internet access to ensure students have access to reliable internet service.
Students can receive the following benefits from participating in dual enrollment:
- Introduction to and preparation for college life
- Ability to explore interests, careers, and majors
- Opportunity to build skills that are needed in the workforce
- Motivation to stick with it and pursue a college degree or certificate
- Understanding the benefits of college education
- Accelerated pathway through college that can save time and money
To enroll in dual enrollment courses, students may be required to:
- Complete an Online College Application
- Complete Orientation (Online or In-person)
- Submit Transcripts
- Meet with Counselor
- Register for College Classes
- Complete Financial Aid Application
Specific steps and details might differ from college to college. Students should check with their high school or adult education counselor or contact their local college campus for guidance on enrollment requirements.
Dual enrollment offers many benefits, such as a chance to begin college early, master college level coursework, and learn to navigate the college environment. However, students and parents should know the following:
- The grades earned in dual enrollment courses will be part of the permanent student record and college transcript. Poor grades in dual enrollment courses can hurt students’ chances of receiving financial aid as well as their eligibility to enroll in a four-year college or university.
- Dual enrollment courses may count toward a total unit cap on financial aid or course enrollment limits.
- Students might be responsible for expenses such as textbooks and supplies, transportation to and from campus, and meals while attending courses at the campus.
Students interested in dual enrollment should speak with a counselor at the high school or adult education school they are currently attending prior to enrolling to determine if the program is right for them.
Credit for Prior Learning
Qualified experience includes college-level knowledge or skills from:
- Work experience
- Apprenticeships, internships or other employer training programs
- Military service/training
- State/federal government training
- Volunteer work and civic activities (e.g., Peace Corps)
- Independent study