(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
5/12/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Hello Grad Students and Post-Docs,
For those of you in the greater Irvine area, I hope you are enjoying the cool weather. I actually woke up shivering last night and had to close the window! After the heat we have been having, I for one am really looking forward to some June gloom. We will keep this message short today, as we mostly want to keep you up to date on getting you some more financial support.
CARES Act Direct Compensation to Graduate Students
We’ve gotten a few questions about this and apologize for any confusion. The federal guidance wasn’t as clear as we might like so it took a bit to sort out. This funding will provide some relief to our Title IV eligible students. Graduate students will get detailed information soon, but roughly speaking, it works like this:
Those of you in Business, Medicine, and Law are used to having your own financial aid folks. You don’t go through central processing. In this case, the same will be true. Those offices will reach out to you with more information.
Those of you who have filed FAFSAs and are not in those schools, we are working with financial aid on this, and you should be awarded late this week or next week. Details to come.
Those of you who are Title IV eligible but have NOT filed FAFSAs, you will have to e-sign an affidavit before Financial Aid can release your money. Again, details to come soon.
We thank you for your patience and look forward to providing you more information on your awards in the next couple of days and the actual awards not long after!
Campus is actively working on expanding the number of summer employment and fellowship opportunities. We now know for sure that many schools will be hiring more TAs this summer as well as teaching associates. Please make sure the right person in your school (Associate Dean, Grad Chair, MSO, etc) knows if you are interested in taking on a position. We have also asked faculty with grants and/or setup funds to hire their students this summer. If you think this applies to your advisor, please talk with them and make sure they know what your summer support options are. In addition to the Inclusive Excellence Ambassador fellowships (due tomorrow!), we expect to announce before the end of the week at least one other fellowship opportunity. I know announcing these things in a piecemeal process is less than ideal. We are rolling them out as soon as we can get the funding in place though, so it’s a bit staggered. Don’t be afraid to drop by office hours if we can help or reach out to Kayleigh Anderson (email@example.com) for her help and support with writing fellowship applications.
Those of you in grad student housing just got a rent increase. The COVID-19 crisis delayed housing’s normal renewal and rate information communication processes, which I can imagine was super frustrating for a lot of you. I am told they will return to their practices of sending this information out much earlier in the future. In case you wonder about the process (I did!), each fall quarter the Housing Director of Finance and Business Operations reviews the Housing budget with the graduate student Coordinate Governance Group. If you have an interest in attending that session, please reach out to them. I am sure they would welcome more engagement and participation. In the meantime, as aggravating as a rate increase is, there are good reasons for it:
Student Housing operates as an independent auxiliary to campus. This means they HAVE to balance their budget and can take no state funds. You can imagine what their budget looks like right now.
The 2% increase to grad and family residents does not cover basic increases in the department’s expenses, which are typically in the 3% - 5% range. This gap between grad and family revenue and expenses is subsidized by other Student Housing revenue streams in order to keep grad and family rates as low as possible.
Typically, grad and family rates are increased 2% to 2.5% every year in order to make up some of the gap between rent revenue and escalating expenses. They kept the increases below these typical rates because of the current crisis.
As reasonable as most of that may seem, none of it helps you if you are in crisis now. The Student Housing Account Counselor (firstname.lastname@example.org) is available for students who are experiencing difficulties with payments or want to inquire about a payment plan. Please use their services if you need them.
Irvine Company Rent Forgiveness Information
We know all of you have different living situations. Here is some information regarding a rent assist program for those renting in properties owned by Irvine Company. Click here for more resources for current Irvine Company residents.
New work group formed to begin planning for the return of staff to campus
Following yesterday’s Chancellor’s message about UCI’s efforts toward gradually reintroducing in-person operations, Human Resources announced that it is leading a workgroup on the planning for the phased return of staff to campus. The new workgroup consists of 37 members, including central and local HR professionals, Academic Senior Managers, and other senior administrators.
Dean's Office Hours
I continue to hold virtual office hours, Monday - Friday to answer any questions or concerns students might have during this confusing time. See below for the most current schedule. No registration is required, just click this link to enter https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057.
- Wednesday, May 13th: 11:30am – 12:00pm
- Thursday, May 14th 2:00pm – 2:30pm
- Friday, May 15th 11:30am – 12:00pm
UCI IN THE NEWS - COVID-10 Article List
Governing, May 12, 2020 (Opinion)- Opinion: An overlooked resource for rebuilding
local economies: Angels
MSN (Bloomberg Opinion), May 11, 2020 (Opinion)- Opinion: COVID-19 will sicken the housing market until the pandemic lifts
Orange County Register, May 11, 2020- UC Irvine receives $2.5 million donation for coronavirus testing, treatment and research
Orange County Business Journal, May 11, 2020- Where OC is seeing COVID-19 increases
Poets & Quants for Undergrads, May 11, 2020- This first-year college student created an internship resource for fellow students
LAist, May 11, 2020- There’s unequal risk and more than one curve suggested In COVID-19 data
The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 8, 2020 -Campus protests cost the class of 1970 its commencement. Now COVID-19 has taken away its 50th reunion.
That was a lot about money, and while that’s important, it’s not all that’s important. I also want to make sure you all know that I am chairing a workgroup focused on the graduate experience this fall. We have representation from the arts, social sciences, STEM, the academic senate, the registrar, and more, and everyone in that group is deeply dedicated to make our Fall as good as it can be under the circumstances. Spring quarter was rushed and chaotic and characterized by uncertainty. Summer we hope to be a time of recovery, where we can provide as many of you as possible with as much support as possible to get back on track. And so, that leads us to Fall. Fall is always my favorite season. I love the back to school vibe, the crisp fall air, the excitement of brand new freshmen, transfers, and grad students appearing on campus. This Fall will most definitely be different. We are working to make it as good as it can be. We thank you for the role you will play in building that new kind of Fall.
Let us fill our minds with courage, love, and hope, because as Dale Carnegie once said, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
I look forward to sending you good news about funding, campus operations changes, and more in the coming days and weeks.
On behalf of all of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division