The Office of the Vice Chancellor of Finance is partnering with campus to submit information to various state and federal agencies in order to facilitate recovery efforts. This includes submitting estimated COVID-19 costs monthly to UCOP and the Department of Finance. Additionally, we’ve submitted a Request for Public Assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Controller’s Office is working with Student Affairs and Government and Community Relations to distribute CARES Act funding. Vice Chancellor Rae has convened a disaster recovery working group that is comprised of staff from across campus to inform how we collect the data we’ll need to submit requests for federal and state funding.
Submitting financial information to state and federal agencies
Monthly cost estimates to the Department of Finance
The California Department of Finance asked all state agencies to begin reporting costs related to COVID-19 on a monthly basis so that we are well-positioned for potential reimbursement of these expenses by the federal or state government. To ensure we’re capturing all the relevant expenses, the UC Office of the President has requested we submit our data on costs related to COVID-19 to them on a monthly basis, prior to the submission to the Department of Finance. We gather this data in a monthly template that we send out to the Divisional Finance Leaders. They enter their monthly estimates of COVID-19 related costs and then send it to the Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) team. The FP&A team compiles the responses into one sheet, which we submit to UCOP, who then submits a consolidated template to the Department of Finance. More information about completing the template, instructions, and frequently asked questions is available on the Department of Finance Reporting page.
Request for Public Assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
In order to help balance out the losses sustained because of COVID-19, UC Berkeley is pursuing Public Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for COVID-19 related eligible costs. On April 10, 2020, we submitted the request for public assistance. FEMA provides reimbursement for specific emergency protective measures taken by entities such as ours to protect the health and safety of people and personal property during this COVID-19 pandemic. In April, Vice Chancellor Rae convened a disaster recovery working group of staff from across campus to consider how best to track eligible activities and associated costs (and revenues) and develop FEMA policy-driven guidelines on how to gather the information needed to package and submit an application for Public Assistance. We are working closely with consultants from AG Witt to assist us in the navigation of the submittal process to ensure we are in alignment with the strict guidance of FEMA Public Assistance policy. More information is available on the FEMA reporting page.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides funding to address higher education challenges created by the COVID‐19 pandemic. Of the funding we received, 50% was directed to emergency financial aid grants for student cost of attendance, food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. The other 50% will be directed to the institution to defray operational expenses related to the impact of COVID-19. The funds cannot be used for endowments, athletic or religious facilities, or enrollment recruitment contractors. Read more on the CARES Act Report webpage.
The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office team collaborated with campus partners, including the Division of Equity and Inclusion, the Graduate Division, student government leaders, and the Student Advocate’s Office, to award and distribute these funds. Payments were sent out to students on Thursday, May 7. The IRS website FAQs provide guidance related to exclusion of these payments as gross income for tax reporting purposes, as they are considered qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. Likewise, expenses paid with this funding cannot be claimed as deductions. More information is available on the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office website.
We have now received the institutional portion of the CARES Act in the amount of $15,220,313. The Office of the Chief Financial Officer is working with the Chancellor and Provost to plan for and distribute these funds, including consideration of reimbursement of lost revenue associated with refunds to students for room and board and other fees. Our commitment to the well-being and health of our students, staff, and faculty remains our top priority and will continue to inform decisions that impact the financial well- being of our community.