New federal grant helps students financially

Winter and spring 2022 class registration is now open


Photo courtesy of College of the Desert. COD students on campus prior of COVID-19.

On Nov. 11, 2021, College of the Desert announced a federally awarded grant for the upcoming spring semester, given by the U.S. Department of Education. Students will be given up to $100 per unit during the spring semester of 2022. This grant was awarded due to students’ circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic, shutting down COD’s campuses, and lacking money accessibility.

College of the Desert is slowly re-opening. With the expectation to open campus fully next spring semester while still offering online and hybrid options. COD is looking to help students back financially.

“This grant allows College of the Desert to make education much more affordable for the spring term,” said College of the Desert’s Superintendent/President Martha Garcia. “The College is thankful to help our students and potential students who had to forgo their education because of the pandemic, and provide them with funds to pay for books, tuition, living expenses and other necessities.”

COD students are overall happy about the grant.

“I believe that it will truly benefit students, and it will encourage students to continue their education,” said Alexis Lopez, 19, and a current student at College of the Desert. “I think it’s a great idea,” she added. “Personally, it would benefit me to further my education because college isn’t cheap and getting any help is beneficial.”

Ixel Jimenez, 19, voiced her opinion on the motivation students may accomplish if they take more classes outside of their means. “I believe it’ll be a good thing since it’ll attract more students to take more classes and will be used for motivation,” she said. “I believe it’ll benefit students by helping them with a little extra cash and making books and class necessities that much more affordable,” she added.

Brianna Moreno, 18, agrees with the motivation students would attain following the grant. “This can help students by becoming more motivated to want to attend college,” she said.

Juan Zamorano, 19, and Cindy Sanchez, 19, believe this grant will interest students to enroll at College of the Desert, whether future or returning students. “I can see this giving many people a reason to return or stay in college,” said Zamorano. “It reduces the cost of the classes paid out of pocket,” he added. “I do believe this will help future students to enroll in COD,” said Sanchez. 

Many students had to drop out of college due to financial struggles. Bianca Santibanez, 21, shared how difficult these times have been, especially for her friend who had to drop out due to monetary strains. “I have a friend who applied to COD last semester and she didn’t get approved for FAFSA,” she said. “She ended up dropping out due to the amount of money she’d have to pay out of her pocket to continue her classes.” 

The grant will be available for every student taking credit or non-credit classes despite their citizenship status: residency or immigration. However, those enrolled in PACE will not be eligible to receive funding. “It’ll positively help others,” said Santibanez. “It’s also for non-credit classes and right now, my dad wants to be fluent in English, so he’s talking non-credit classes (ESL).”

Students put in so much effort and it’s going to be an excellent help for full-time students.

— Cindy Sanchez

Students further asserted their support and opinions on how this grant will help them deal with COVID-19 setbacks. “I think it is a good way to provide support for students these times during COVID-19,” Sanchez said. “It will provide a sense of security about how they will pay for certain items such as textbooks, internet bills, laptops, health care, food and much more,” she said.

Zamorano spoke out about the help COD provides by keeping classes low cost and profitable. “The less money required for college classes and materials is an incentive to enroll as there is help to keep the cost as low as possible,” he said.

Aaliyah Herrera, 19, believes this will help with both educational and personal belongings. “I believe this will undoubtedly benefit me with purchasing my books,” she said. Jimenez noted the extra help this provides for students’ needs. “This is a big help to all students,” she said. “One hundred dollars per unit can go towards a lot including school necessities, transportation and much more.”

However, as students are excited over this new grant, some expressed their questions and concerns about the award’s reality. “I believe it can go wrong by students taking advantage of their money on unnecessary things,” said Herrera. Herrera believes the grant is a good cause for students who need help purchasing textbooks and school supplies but believes that students’ greed could take over. Zamorano questions how the grant will be distributed to students. “I could see this helping student, but it all lies on the details of how the money would be given to students,” he said. 

Students overall agree on how encouraging and promising COD is for being devoted to helping the community. “I am currently a full-time student and this money will help me stay on track,” Moreno said. “It will help me continue being a full-time student.”

Registration for classes starts on Nov. 29. For more information, contact Enrollment Services at [email protected] or call (760) 346-8041.