by Monica Robinson
The Middle-Class Scholarship (MCS) in California has recently undergone modifications. It now offers scholarships to not only undergraduates, but also students pursuing teaching credentials whose family income and household assets are at most $217,000.
Audri Peñaloza, a student worker at the financial aid office, said despite the funds arriving on Oct. 20, CSU failed to notify them, leaving them untouched.
Correction as of Nov. 29, 2023: The MCS awarding process for the 2023/2024 cycle was delayed due to a programming issue originating at the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) level, according to Morgan McBroom, assistant director of the financial aid office. While schools throughout the CSU could view award rosters as early as October, the award information on these rosters was incorrect.
This issue is not limited to one CSU institution; all campuses are struggling with the same issue.
The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) decides the awards and the information provided in the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). Receiving federal, state, institutional or private grants and scholarships can also impact the value of the MCS.
Eligible students must be enrolled at a California State University or University of California and be a California resident or eligible non-resident. They also must have submitted the FAFSA or CADAA before the March 2, 2023 deadline.
Cost of attendance, including federal, state, institutional and private scholarship aid, determines the award value. If other aid or eligibility for the Middle-Class Scholarship changes, the award is subject to change.
“I didn’t get the job I thought I was getting,” environmental studies student Amy Ronald said. “I need that [award] to pay rent next month.”
Up to one year of the MCS may be available, and students must be enrolled in at least six units required for their degree and meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.
Unfortunately, most MCSs at Cal Poly Humboldt are still unavailable due to internal processing handled manually by just one person.
Correction as of Nov. 28, 2023: In order to ensure the most accurate awards, schools first had to wait for the CSAC programming fix, which occurred in early November, McBroom said. Humboldt Financial Aid Office has begun the process of updating student award packages with actual MCS awards, and says its goal is to have all Fall MCS awards disbursed by the end of the Fall term.
The above story was edited with corrections and clarifications.