CFA COVID-19 Message: CARES Act, Concern on Speculation

Dear Colleagues,

I hope the consistency and information in these COVID-19 messages are helping you as we all navigate the complexities and uncertainties of work and life in this moment in time. 

By now, some of you have begun to read about the allocation of funds from the federal stimulus bill, known as the CARES Act and what funding will look like for the CSU.

Here is what we know thus far:

  • California colleges will receive more than $1.7 billion. According to EdSource, the 23 CSU campuses are eligible to receive more than $525 million in federal funds from the CARES Act.
  • The Federal law mandates that at least 50 percent of this money be used for emergency financial aid grants to help students cover expenses related to COVID-19 disruptions. So, the CSU must use at least $262.5 million for emergency financial aid grants to address the general cost of attendance, such as food and housing.
  • The other 50 percent of CARES Act funding is given to campuses to use at their discretion.
  • Three of our campuses – Northridge, Long Beach, and Fullerton – are among the top 10 nationally in stimulus money allocations.

What we do not yet know is how individual campuses intend to allocate the funds not earmarked for financial aid.  As a union, we will vigorously advocate for transparency and the appropriate use of these funds that support the core mission of the CSU: our students and their direct instruction. 

Since the onset of this public health crisis, the goal of my messages has been to keep our members well-informed and up-to-date with the latest, best information impacting our work. I want to provide you with the facts, the reality of our work, all the while leaving you with a sense of hope.

However, I am concerned that there are some campus administrators and outside observers who are speculating about reduced enrollments and state budget allocations to the system.  These unfounded predictions are premature at best, and harmful at worst.  As a union, CFA will continue to fight for appropriate responses to this crisis, including thoughtful solutions for a recovery which includes adequate investment in the CSU that provides real opportunities for students and faculty to prosper. The CSU must be part of the solution to this crisis; from continuing to train nurses and health workers, to producing the citizens and workers who will help build California’s economy in the future.

I appreciate all that you have done thus far: your ability and willingness to adjust to different methods of teaching, researching, advising, coaching, counseling, and performing librarian work and services; your concerted efforts to look out for your students and your colleagues; your efforts to connect with your fellow union members during this crisis. To me, all of you are superstars and a beacon of hope.

We still need you to be involved, too. We want to encourage you to connect with your local chapter to join our efforts in the rebuilding that we all must engage in. If you are not a member of CFA, please join us. It’s going to take all of us to get it right.

As always, please be safe and well in these times and continue to look out for one another.


Charles Toombs, Ph.D.
President, California Faculty Association
Department of Africana Studies
San Diego State University