Drew Godoy-Sauceda came to his advisor with a spreadsheet filled with mounting expenses and growing concerns that he wouldn’t be able to pay for tuition and fees.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior mechanical engineering student’s paid internship hours had been reduced, as had the hours at his part-time job off campus.
At the behest of his advisor, Godoy-Sauceda headed to the financial aid office and learned about the Summer Completion Grant initiative. He applied for the grant, which covers tuition for up to eight units, fees, and other expenses for qualified students. The summer grant funding, along with a second grant Godoy was awarded from his department, gave him what he needed to stay on track.
“I was very thankful,” he said. “That month, all of my bills were bad. If I didn’t get the grants, I wouldn’t have known what to do about my rent situation, my housing and food.”
The Summer Completion Grant program, which is in its third year at Cal Poly Pomona, is part of the Graduation Initiative 2025, a CSU-wide effort to bolster graduation rates. This summer, the university awarded grants totaling about $500,000 combined to 215 students, after awarding the grants to 329 students in 2019. Kellogg Legacy grants fund the summer completion initiative.
Given the circumstances, Cecilia Santiago-González, assistant vice president of strategic initiatives for student success, said she was pleasantly surprised at how well the grant program went this summer.
“We try to be focused on who we reach out to,” she said. “Students with a certain number of credits needed to graduate and students recommended by their advisors were the focus.”
The Office of Student Success forged partnerships to offer other summer programs.
The Summer Boost program, in partnership with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, offered financial assistance to first-year students to complete their required reading and quantitative reasoning requirements and make progress toward their degree.
Summer Achieve, also in conjunction with financial aid office, offered qualified students who took summer classes $1,000 to help fund their courses and keep them motivated.
Overall summer enrollment was slightly higher in 2020 than it was in 2019, said Sep Eskandari, associate provost for academic planning and faculty excellence.
The fully online summer sessions had a total enrollment of 5,774 students in 592 class sections, collectively filling 13,058 seats, Eskandari said. Summer 2019 had 5,467 students enrolled in 600 class sections, collectively filling 12,177 seats.
“In spite of the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Summer 2020 was a very successful term serving students,” he said.