Dear Cal Supporters and Alumni,

Lisa García BedollaI am writing to express my profound gratitude for your support in these incredibly challenging times.

As you know, this past semester and our new fall term are like no other in the history of the university. The global pandemic presented incredible hurdles and put enormous stress on our current graduate population and those students hoping to begin their graduate studies this fall.

We were, and still are, challenged not only to find the means to serve the disparate and immediate needs of a population of over 11,500 students so they could stay on track for the semester, but also to help alleviate the significant anxiety students are experiencing with regard to their academic progress, housing, financial aid, food security, and the health and well-being of their families.

In the midst of so much disruption, the generosity of our donors and the coming together of our community of supporters has been truly awe inspiring.

The incredible outpouring of support for the student emergency fund provided direct, immediate support to Berkeley students experiencing unforeseen difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 crisis — including job loss or reduced resources to cover personal and academic expenses.

This generous financial support has had a profound impact on our ability to care for and support our graduate students through a difficult time, giving us the ability to fill in gaps with direct aid to meet students’ unexpected needs.

For example, while the federal government provided aid to students through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), international and DACA students were not eligible for this aid. Generous Cal community support enabled us to bridge the gap for these graduate students, ensuring they received the same aid as their peers.

As graduate students left their apartments and leases to care for family and parents or were unable to pay their usual monthly rent, support was provided for rental assistance. As jobs and extra income dried up, we had the flexibility to provide food and basic needs security, as well as loans. The real-time impact of this direct student aid may be found in this newsletter.

I am deeply grateful for your trust, which has made it possible for us to continue to fulfill our mission of ensuring all students have access to the knowledge, resources, and services they need to thrive in their graduate studies at Berkeley.

I hope you and yours remain safe and well.


With warmest regards,

Lisa García Bedolla
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division