California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Middle-Class Scholarship Finally Arrives but Not for Everyone

Students walk near Meiklejohn Hall at California State University East Bay (Photo by Anne Wernikoff/CalMatters)

The Middle-Class Scholarship (MCS) is a state aid grant provided by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) for UC and CSU students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree all while holding a good academic standing and proving that they make less than $125,000 a year. If you have Financial Aid, you are probably aware of the Middle-Class Scholarship; if you do not know, let me explain it to you.

Students who qualify for the Middle-Class Scholarship may get up to 7,000 dollars depending on their tax status from submitted reports and their academic standing. However, we are promptly moving along during the spring semester and yet, at this stage of the semester there are still students that need to be awarded their disbursements. 

MCS/CSAC has faced significant controversy due to the inaccuracies that some students encountered, such as glitches with their deadlines affecting their qualification status, determination of who gets the aid, and timing issues even when they proved to qualify.

Alex Villanueva, a support agent from the Financial Aid department of CSUEB, claimed that CSAC tells students to inquire with the school offices if in need of any assistance or information regarding their roster status but, in actuality the schools and institutions have little power to make moves in the roster. “CSAC handles who they add to their roster because they sponsor the grant,” said Villanueva.

On the other hand, Erika from CSAC students support, denies the previous statement by Villanueva. “Schools are responsible for sending the roster to us; we just send the funding to schools,” said Erika. This means there is no congruence between the information shared by both entities. This may cause students to need clarification and create complications regarding whom they can get support from. 

The other issue that students frequently experience is, the need for more accurate information from the CSAC regarding the time students should expect the financial government assistance. Students are also seeking a timely response determining if they will receive the aid or not, an adequate response will give students enough time and opportunity to make other plans in order to pay for their education. Students are beginning to experience frustration when they learn they have yet to be awarded when they meet the criteria in both financial and academic aspects. 

Students are welcome to appeal their decision if not granted a MCS; however, the appeal process can take weeks and months for CSAC to renew as they receive appeals in the order they come. The CSUEB Financial Aid Department and CSAC need to put their hands on making this situation a lot easier for students. The best way to do so is by working together, creating effective solutions for students who need help, and educating their staff about the situation.

Nonetheless, Students must call the California Student Aid Commission line. If you are ever in a situation where the Middle-Class Scholarship is not being disbursed to you, please address the problem to the FAFSA department by providing proof of emails, screenshots, or any information that can facilitate your case in advance. Once you have given all the correct information to FAFSA, they can work the case with you. 

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