March 27, 2020


Christina Jimenez
T 916.322.4004


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley issued the following statement on the passage of the CARES Act:

“We are grateful to Congress, and especially to the California delegation, for including $14 billion in emergency funding for higher education nationwide. The bill includes a number of provisions consistent with the proposal by the Chancellor’s Office and its advocacy partners to provide protections for student financial aid and program funding flexibility at the campus level, including easing restrictions for allowable uses of grant aid. As the largest system of higher education in the country, a formula that directly invests in our Pell recipients will directly support students facing urgent needs related to coronavirus through emergency grants to students to cover eligible expenses, such as food, housing, technology, health care and childcare. Additional resources will support our colleges as they cope with the immediate impact on operations resulting from the pandemic.

But this represents just a start to a larger commitment that will be needed to help students and our country recover from this crisis. The bill does not include long-term assistance to students through Pell Grants. Nor does it fund new technology to support colleges in their transition from in-person to online instruction and to close achievement gaps resulting from a lack of adequate resources for low-income students.

The Chancellor’s Office will continue its federal advocacy and Congressional engagement on the above priorities and any other needs identified as Congress considers future Coronavirus response appropriations.”

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.