Community Financial Fund Helps Undergraduates

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Andrew Melese
Staff Writer

UCSB’s Community Financial Fund is a university funded financial education and assistance program. CFF, a part of Associated Students, holds frequent workshops, open to all students who desire to become more financially prepared for life after college. The financial assistance portion is offered to those who pass a quiz following one of their financial literacy workshops, which are held each quarter on campus.

Their mission, according to Finance Chair Rashi Jain, is to “educate on aspects of student loan deferment” and other elements of personal finance such as “credit scores, things very applicable to the real world.”

Jain says that after working for CFF for over a year, she has found that the information CFF workshops offer is of the sort “everyone should know and be aware of.” However, she also notes that most students who choose to attend the workshops are in “great need,” either because they are anxious about the financial road ahead or because they are looking for additional solutions to immediate financial difficulties.

Jain explained that CFF came to be because the cost of attending public universities increased significantly in recent years, leading to more and more cases of financial assistance need. In addition to creating additional financial support for students during their college years, the CFF embraces financial education services as a way to provide support with utility transcendent of immediate financial burdens, services which can help people navigate the world after leaving college and throughout life. Jain believes they accomplish both these goals.

One applies for financial assistance after attending a CFF workshop by requesting a grant. Through these grants — distributed on a first come, first serve basis — one is eligible to receive up to $400 dollars in aid. Students are offered grants based off whether they have passed the aforementioned quiz and a series of other requirements listed in a “checklist” on the organization’s website.

Included in the checklist is the required completion of an essay explaining why one feels the need for a CFF grant. Below the checklist, also on their website, is a statement that “these grants are open to the entire undergraduate student body, and provide students experiencing financial difficulties with an additional financial resource on campus.” There is no exclusivity regarding who can benefit from their services. This is a point Jain stresses.

The Community Financial Fund currently has an appropriation for grants of $120,000 for fiscal year 2016/2017. All of the money is to be distributed by June 30th, when the fiscal year ends. For more information, one can visit their website: cff.as.ucsb.edu. On the site they list details about the grant process, the schedule of workshops for the spring quarter, and a series of “quick tips” on how to “becom[e] financially fit.”

One can also find contact information for members of the CFF and a detailed overview of the various services they offer. The Community Financial Fund is a program of UCSB’s Associated Students and has secured appropriations to continue their work during the 2017-2018 fiscal year.