March 17, 2020 - Financial Aid office updates, mental health resources, etc+

UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Stepehn Sutton sent the following message to all undergraduate and graduate students 03/17/2020:​

 

Over the weekend, public health officials confirmed a UC Berkeley graduate student has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual is self-isolating and is in good condition and has no serious symptoms. Public health officials have determined that there are no high risk contacts from this case, meaning no one is at significantly higher risk of contracting it from the infected individual than would be expected in the general population. You should continue to monitor your health and if you exhibit COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath), contact your physician or University Health Services (UHS). More information can be found at news.berkeley.edu/coronavirus/ and news.berkeley.edu/2020/03/17/what-uc-berkeley-students-need-to-know-about-coronavirus/

We recognize that moving to remote instruction for the remainder of the semester, dealing with the shelter-in-place order, working remotely, facing closures in the community, and possibly juggling childcare responsibilities is incredibly challenging. We are here to support you.

Financial Aid and Scholarships, Other Administrative Support

As a reminder, as long as you remain enrolled in a class through the end of the semester, your financial aid will not be affected by your decision to leave or remain on-campus

Additionally, future residency determinations will take into account these special circumstances - you won’t be penalized for leaving. 

We continue to provide online and phone advising for billing and payment, financial aid, and registrar inquiries. Common requests:

  1. For additional financial aid, apply for an Emergency Loan and select the EFT (Direct Deposit) option or submit a Cost of Attendance Adjustment Request.

  2. Sign up for Direct Deposit, a fast, convenient, safe, and reliable way to have payments you receive deposited directly to your bank account. Signing up for direct deposit is the most efficient way to get your payments.

  3. Visit CalCentral, “Profile” to update your local address, if appropriate.

  4. Request Transcripts or Verification of Enrollment. Review the “Academic Records” section in the “My Academics” tab of CalCentral. You will see options for “Transcript - Undergraduate or Graduate Student” and “Enrollment Verification.”

For other billing and payment, financial aid and scholarship, and registrar questions, Cal Student Central (CSC) is offering advising services via phone and online only. Contact us weekdays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. at (510) 664-9181 or create a case online at any time. CSC is responding to all cases within three business days. 

The Cal 1 Card office will provide services remotely via email at cal1card@berkeley.edu and phone at (510) 643-6839. In-person support services (for card replacement, for example) will be available by appointment (Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.) via the online flex-appointment scheduler

The Cal Student Store in the ASUC Student Union is temporarily closed. You can still shop their robust online selection, including caps and gowns, with limited time free shipping. Check their website for updates and information on how to pick up your pre-ordered caps and gowns. 

For all other departments, refrain from visiting an office in-person. Check their website for service adjustments and further directions. Many services can be completed online or via email which helps support social distancing and the safety of our students and staff. 

Housing

Students in on-campus housing should watch for additional messages with more details. If you live in on-campus undergraduate housing and choose to end your contract, you can estimate your refund. You will receive one full installment refund along with a partial installment refund based on your cancellation date - April 1, April 10, or April 20. For reference, there are 10 installments for the year (five in the Fall and five in the Spring). You can see all of the installments in CalCentral under “My Finances,” “Billing Summary”. Your decision to stay or move out will not affect your financial aid package. Students will receive their refund minus any outstanding charges (only affects a very small number of students).

Students in off-campus private residence (apartments or houses), may be responsible for paying rent for the remainder of the term of your lease. Read more about terminating your lease at sa.berkeley.edu/legal/tipsheet/terminatinglease.

Supporting Your Physical Health 

Students are encouraged to contact the UHS advice line (Nurse Advice Line (24/7) at (510) 643-7197) if they have symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, or had close sustained contact with a known positive case of COVID-19 (as a reminder, public health officials have determined the graduate student who tested positive did not have high risk contacts). We encourage everyone to view the helpful resource information we have circulated, including social distancing and tips on proper hygiene, such as lathering your hands and washing for at least 20 seconds, on the UHS website.  

Supporting Your Mental Health 

As the situation continues to evolve feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and fear can be overwhelming. Students, faculty and staff are dealing with sudden changes to their regular schedules and worry about what comes next for themselves, friends and family.  We encourage you to reach out for support if you need it. Counselors at University Health Services (UHS) at the Tang Center are available for urgent concerns: Counseling and Psychological Services website or (510) 642-9494 (after-hours counseling line (855) 817-5667). We also offer students support with medical withdrawal (for physical or psychological reasons), if appropriate. Here are some additional tips to help:

  • Be proactive about managing stress

    • Taking care of your physical and emotional health during uncertain times is key. Get tipis and resources around mental health and coping.   

    • Pay attention to your stress level and prioritize stress management. Practice self care by talking to friends, exercising, and taking breaks will help your academic performance. 

    • Visit recalibrate for wellness information and resources targeted at the entire campus community. 

  • Sleep

    • There is good evidence that high-quality sleep (roughly 7-9 hours for the average person) significantly improves task performance, learning, and memory.

    • Sleep and anxiety are often interrelated and improving sleep quality appears to lessen generalized anxiety.

  • Seek help

    • Getting help is a sign of strength and resiliency. Visit the Office of the Dean of Students’ Mental Health Matters to learn how we are in this together.

    • If stress is interfering with your life (socially or academically) or if you find yourself depressed or anxious for weeks or longer, this will interfere with your ability to learn and perform academically. Talk to a professional mental health counselor. Confidential campus counselors at University Health Services at the Tang Center are available on a drop-in basis for urgent concerns. There are also new online self-help tools. Visit the CAPS website, call Counseling and Psychological Services at (510) 642-9494, or, when the Tang Center is closed, call the after-hours counseling line (855) 817-5667.

    • It's okay if you need help. You are not alone. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-TALK (8255).

 

In addition to taking care of yourself, please be mindful of other students facing similar challenges this time of year. Download the Just in Case Berkeley mobile app to get tips to help you cope or help a friend and emergency information. 

Staying Healthy

We continue to encourage hand-washing and social distancing by leaving at least 6 ft. of space between yourself and others when you are outside of your room or apartment. This includes walking around outside, eating at a dining hall, or visiting the library. Here are some other ways to stay healthy.

Finally, please continue to keep our Principles of Community in mind. Don’t forget to practice grace, empathy, and compassion towards yourself and others. We will get through this moment in time together.