Sac State students will receive another HEERF grant in spring 2022


Kris Hall

Sacramento State Vice President of Student Affairs Ed Mills discusses grants for students in the spring 2022 semester at an Associated Students Inc. meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. The university will be disbursing $20 million total to students after the fourth week of the semester.

Kris Hall

Sacramento State Vice President of Student Affairs Ed Mills told Associated Students Inc. Wednesday that the university will be disbursing $20 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund funds in the spring 2022 semester. 

The university was granted funds from Congress to support students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to ASI’s Associate Vice President of Financial Services Gina Curry, students will still get a comparable amount to past HEERF grants and can expect the funding early in the semester soon after the fourth week, once the university finishes its census.

The campus deadline to use the funds is late March to ensure we get all the documentation processed and the funds ‘drawn down’ from the Department of Education by our May deadline,” Curry said via email. “I do not know how much money we will have in excess at this point.”

The number of funds that will be left over depends on how many students will be enrolled and registered with direct deposits with eRefund, according to Mills.

“There are some deadlines coming up in March,” Mills said. “We have to make decisions about making sure that we can utilize the rest of the funding.”

Mills shared ways to spend the money before the money is gone in March.

He said it could be possible to send another smaller immediate disbursement that could be approximately an additional $100, or the funds could be used to provide food to students in need on campus. 

ASI also voted to support the California Faculty Association’s pursuit for better working conditions and provisions from the California State University system.

Margarita Berta-Avila, Sacramento chapter president of the CFA and professor of education in the Sac State’s college of education, was the first of four to speak to ASI at their Dec. 8 board meeting prior to the vote.

“I as well am on the bargaining team, and we have already gone into impasse,” Berta-Avila said. “Impasse means that we are too far apart with management to come to any agreement or resolutions to bargaining.” 

RELATED: CSU Chancellor faces faculty protests, anti-racism questions at Sac State during visit 

Emily Bukowski, a lecturer in the geography department with a doctorate in philosophy, told ASI that she is not in this line of work for the money, but without CSU’s meeting the requests from CFA, she said she may not be able to afford living in Sacramento.

“What most lecturers do when they’re in that position is they pick up more work,” Bukowski said.

She told ASI that the raises would help keep her and other faculty available for students, or otherwise they would have to look for work outside of teaching.

“It’s not just that we’re looking for more money,”Bukowski said. “…We’re looking for more money so that we can survive, so that we can do our jobs better.”

Bukowski finished her request for support by alluding to the possibility of a strike next semester.

“Support us particularly in the spring,” Bukowski said. “Don’t cross the picket line.” 

The representatives for CFA told ASI that because of the impasse in negotiation, CFA will focus on fact-finding to support its cause in January.

Our goals for fact-finding is to present the research [and] data narratives on the items we are still very far apart on and are at the core of our antiracist social justice agenda,” Berta-Avila said via email.

ASI president Samantha Elizalde spoke in favor of the resolution to support CFA prior to the vote.

“The chancellor’s office has denied the 4% raise proposal for CFA and has offered a counterproposal of a 2% raise,” Elizalde said. 

The raise would take place over two years, once for the 2022-23 school year and again for the 2023-24 school year.