Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

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What is CalWORKs?
  • CalWORKs is California’s welfare or cash aid or TANF program. It’s an acronym for California Work Opportunities and Responsibilities to Kids.  The federal program is called TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).  The federal government provides some of the funding to run a state program as long as the state budgets matching funds.  CalWORKs provides financial assistance and supportive services to low income parents to help remove barriers to employment.  Note: Legal U.S. residents are eligible for CalWORKs.
  • CalWORKs is a time-limited program to parents with children under the age of 18. TANF is 60 months but in California it is 48 months (however, it will revert back to a 60-month program in 2022).  Applications are available from the County of San Diego through their website or in person at a local Family Resource Center (during COVID-19 offices are closes and services are offered online or by phone). 
  • It is required that you show proof of childhood immunizations for all children, children go to school every day, and you maintain a drug free home. If your youngest child graduates high school or turns 18, you will no longer be eligible for CalWORKs even if you still have time on your 48- or 60-month clock.
  • Supportive services are provided through a Welfare-to-Work contractor include but are not limited to career exploration, education and training (short-term certificate programs, associate and bachelor degree, ESL, etc.), drug and alcohol and mental health counseling, housing assistance, childcare, transportation, books and materials for college and other classes, and other services to support barrier removal.
  • Parents who time off aid at 48-months and still meet income thresholds may still receive cash aid for each child as long as you stay eligible and children are under age 18. This is California’s “safety net” program.
  • Click here to see the CalWORKs Program Guide that has all the rules and regulations for the San Diego County CalWORKs Program.
What is Welfare-to-Work?
  • Once a family has been approved for CalWORKs, they are referred to a Welfare-to-Work (WTW) contractor who oversees all supportive services. This is the employment program of CalWORKs.  If you are a CalWORKs recipient and able-bodied, you must participate in WTW activities to continue to receive cash aid. The law limits the amount of time you can receive CalWORKs and requires that, while you are receiving cash aid, you must be either working or taking part in WTW activities every week. 
  • Once referred to the WTW contractor, you will attend an orientation that will cover the rules and regulations as well as conduct an assessment to determine what, if any, services or training you need to become work-ready.
  • In south, east, and central San Diego County, the contractor is PCG (Public Consulting Group). In north San Diego County, the contractor is Equus (formerly ResCare).
  • You will be assigned a worker to monitor and arrange supportive services for your approved activity. At PCG your worker is called an Employment Training Advisor (ETA) and at Equus (ResCare) your worker is called an Employment Case Manager (ECM).
  • You must participate in an activity for a certain number of hours per week and report those hours monthly on the 24-116 form by the 5th of every month. The number of weekly participation hours depends on the family unit. 
    • Single parent home with a child under the age of 6: 20 hours per week
    • Single parent home with the youngest child over the age of 6: 30 hours per week
    • Two parent home: 35 hours per week (hours can be split between parents)
How can I sign up for Cuyamaca CalWORKs services?
  • First, you’ll need to apply to the college. Click here to go to the instructions for enrolling.  It takes 24-48 hours for your application to be processed.  You’ll receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to log into WebAdvisor.  This is where you will also register for classes and get other information.
  • The college campus is closed to students for COVID-19. Staff are working remotely.  Send us an email at cuyamaca.calworks@gcccd.edu or call 619-660-4340 and leave a message.  Please include your full name, student ID number, and case number.  A staff member will contact you about filling out intake paperwork and scheduling a counseling appointment.  Be sure to tell your worker at PCG or Equus (ResCare) that you are interested in attending Cuyamaca.  NOTE: Intake paperwork is required each academic year.
  • If you just want to explore options about an education at Cuyamaca before applying, our staff or counselors can talk to you about that. Contact us by email or phone that you just want to speak with someone about this.
  • CalWORKs New Student Orientation: This is required for all new students and you only have to take it once. Click here and scroll down to New Student Orientation for the links to the orientation video.
  • FAFSA: Filling out the FAFSA gets you access to financial aid if you’re qualified to receive it to help pay for you college expenses. Click here for more information on how to fill out the application.  The majority of CalWORKs students qualify for the enrollment fee waiver (CCPG) as well as waiving other fees.
How many units do I need to take to qualify for Cuyamaca CalWORKs services?
  • .5 units or more
If I am exempt from Welfare-to-Work, am I eligible for Cuyamaca CalWORKs services?
  • Yes, Cuyamaca CalWORKs supports exempt participants who want to attend college.
  • Exempt means that you have a medical condition, are caring for an ill family member, are age 62 or older, or have a new baby.  This is a County designated status that requires a CW61 form signed by a doctor be submitted for approval.  Exempt means you are not required to fulfill the Welfare-to-Work (WTW) requirements or participation hours and do not have a worker at either PCG or Equus (ResCare) to receive county-provided supportive services.  As long as you are exempt, your 48-month clock stops; however, you are not entitled to the WTW supportive services.
  • Cuyamaca CalWORKs is able to provide exempt students with most of the services that Welfare-to-Work students receive from the County. Click here to find out more about our exempt services.
  • Exempt students are not eligible for CalWORKs work study unless they volunteer for WTW.
How can I schedule an appointment with a counselor?
  • The college campus is closed to students at this time and we are working remotely. Send us an email at cuyamaca.calworks@gcccd.edu or call 619-660-4340 and leave a message.  A staff member will contact you to schedule an appointment.
  • Or you can schedule it yourself. Go to our website to Zoom with a Counselor.
  • NOTE: CalWORKs students are required to see a CalWORKs counselor at least once a semester to complete the education plan and ITP for the current semester. You can also schedule an advising appointment if you want help choosing classes.  A counselor will also prepare a long-term education plan so you know which classes to enroll in each semester toward your educational goal.  If you change majors, you’ll need an updated plan.
What are the services offered at Cuyamaca CalWORKs?

We offer the following services and help facilitate supportive services through the County of San Diego and your case worker.  We also advocate for or assist students with issues or questions with case with WTW or County of San Diego staff as requested.

 

  • Personal, academic, and career counseling
  • Wrap-around support and multiple touch-points per semester
  • Priority registration (ability to register for classes during the first two days of the enrollment period)
  • Student Educational Plan assistance and the ITP (individual Training Plan) required by the County for a student to receive supportive services
  • Coordination of costs for transportation, books and supplies, and emergency costs with the County Health & Human Services
  • Provide school supplies twice a year (i.e., notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, dictionaries or other items needed for your classes at no cost; backpacks when necessary)
  • Childcare funding at the Cuyamaca College Child Development Center and referrals
  • Tutoring referrals
  • CalWORKs work study opportunities on campus (click here for information and eligibility requirements)
  • Coordination with your Welfare-to-Work contractor (PCG or ResCare) case worker regarding your Welfare-to-Work plan and 20/30/35-hour work participation activities
  • Assistance with tracking and reporting hours of weekly activities to your case manager (required 116 form)
  • Provide supportive services for students exempt from Welfare-to-Work.  Click here for more information.
  • Job preparation and placement services
What are the benefits of being a CalWORKs student?
  • Priority Registration: CalWORKs students are able to register for classes during the first two days of the registration period. To maintain priority registration, students must:
    • See counselor every semester for their ITP
    • Attend new student orientation (only needed once)
    • See a counselor for a long-term CEP or six semester plan
  • Most CalWORKs qualify for the California College Promise Grant (formerly BOGW) that waives enrollment fees. Students are also eligible for all fees to be waived.  You must fill out a FAFSA to get the fee waiver.
  • Comprehensive and holistic counseling services.
  • Reduced parking fees for students receiving financial aid.
  • School supplies: binder, paper, pens, pencils, pencil holder, stapler, highlighters, post-its, book bag, and more.
  • Paid childcare at the Cuyamaca Child Development Center.
  • CalWORKs work study for eligible students.
  • Let us be your coach and cheerleader!  We are fierce advocates for our students.
How do I fill out the 24-116 form to report my hours?
  • The 24-116 form is used to document your class hours, lab hours, and study time. It is due to your worker at PCG or Equus (ResCare) by the fifth of the month for the previous month’s hours.
  • Go to our forms page to get the 116 form.  It can be filled out as a PDF document or printed and filled out by hand.
  • Once you’ve filled it out, it needs to be sent to your worker by email. You can email the PDF form or a picture of the form if you’ve printed it out.
  • If you need contact information for staff at one of the WTW contractors, we have staff rosters on our website.  Click here and scroll down to Health and Human Services.
How do I apply to attend Cuyamaca?
  • You’ll need to also apply to the college. Click here to go to the instructions for enrolling.  It takes 24-48 hours for your application to be processed.  You’ll receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to log into WebAdvisor.  This is where you will also register for classes and get other information.
  • Filling out the FAFSA gets you access to financial aid if you’re qualified to help pay for your college expenses.  Click here for more information on how to fill out the application.  The majority of CalWORKs students qualify for the enrollment fee waiver (CCPG) as well as waiving other fees.
How do I register for classes at Cuyamaca?
  • After you’ve applied to the college, go to WebAdvisor. There are instructions and videos on the college website for instructions on how to register.
  • Or you are welcome to contact our office for assistance. Email us at cuyamaca.calworks@gcccd.edu or call 619-660-4340 and leave a message.  A staff member will contact you to help you.  Let us know if you need help from someone who speaks Arabic or Spanish.
What is CalWORKs work study?
  • Work study is an opportunity for eligible students to work on campus and be paid for your work. This is valuable work experience that you’ll be able to put on your resume.  Students are paid at or above minimum wage.
  • It is require that students have completed at least one semester at Cuyamaca with at least 6 units with a 2.0 GPA. ESL students must have passed or are currently enrolled in ESL 2A.  You should also have at least one year of aid left.
  • More information is on the CalWORKs website. Click here.
  • Applications are required each semester for continuing or new students. An email will be sent to our current students when work study applications are open.
  • Federal work study: Financial Aid also has a work study program. It has different eligibility requirements from CalWORKs work study.  Click here for more information.
  • Exempt students: Exempt students who volunteer for WTW may be eligible for work study.
How do I apply for CalWORKs work study?
  • Applications for work student are generally accepted about two months before the start of a semester. We need that much time because the hiring process is lengthy.
  • We will send out an email to all students and post a sign in the CalWORKs office in A-109.
  • If you are qualified, you will be invited to attend a work study orientation where any you will learn about the rules and requirement as well as ask questions.
  • You will need to interview with a potential supervisor. An up-to-date resume is helpful to have.
  • Once you have interviewed and the supervisor wants to hire you, you must meet with the Work Study Coordinator to prepare the work study agreement and hire form to go with the hire packet.
  • The hire form has to be approved by Human Resources (HR) before you get can access to the many hire forms that need to be filled out through an online program called Workday. Some of these forms will need to be filled out at the HR office on the Grossmont College campus. 
  • Once your hire packet has been approved by HR, you can begin work. You and the supervisor will receive an email.
  • Applications are required each fall and spring semester for all continuing and new students.
  • More information is on the CalWORKs website. Click here.
How do I decide on a major?
  • This is a very personal decision for every student. You may have always known what you would like to do for a career or are just now thinking about this.  PCG and Equus (ResCare) often have new WTW clients do an assessment to determine possible careers.  The Cuyamaca Career Center also have these assessments.
  • CalWORKs counselors also help and advise students with that decision and options at Cuyamaca. Then you need to decide if you will pursue a certificate, a degree, or transfer to a university.  To schedule an appointment send us an email at cuyamaca.calworks@gcccd.edu or call 619-660-4340 and leave a message.  A staff member will contact you.
  • Counseling 110 and 120: These courses offer career exploration assessments. We recommend that every student take one of these courses.  Students often learn that they are on the correct career path or discover a new one.
What is financial aid?
  • Financial aid includes federal and state grants to help students pay for college. Click here for a list.  The majority of CalWORKs students are eligible for the enrollment fee waiver called California College Promise Grant (CCPG) (formerly BOGW).  The waiver is for low income students.  Click here for more information.
  • You must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to apply for grants and the fee waiver. This should be done every year starting on October 1.  Click here for the FAFSA application.  Click here  to go to the Financial Aid webpage where you can find much more information. 
  • Each student is assigned a Financial Aid Advisor based on the first letter of your last name. Click here to find your advisor and other Financial Aid staff.  They will be able to answer your financial aid questions. 
How much do I have to pay for classes?
  • The majority of CalWORKs students usually pay nothing to attend Cuyamaca through the fee waivers.  Filling out the FAFSA gets you access to financial aid and the California College Promise Grant (CCPG) that waives enrollment fees.  
Are there any other financial or supports for students besides financial aid?
  • Cuyamaca Cares Emergency Funds: Fill out this application to be eligible for up to $500 per semester.  Funds are distributed through your Cash Card.  Registering through Bank Mobile is necessary to receive emergency funds as well as financial aid. If your application is approved, funds will be distributed shortly afterward.
  • Scholarships: There is a scholarship specialist in the Financial Aid department who can answer questions about applying for scholarships. Workshops are also conducted to assist students.  Sometimes only one application needs to be filled out for numerous available scholarships.
  • Drive Through Pantry: Because of the campus closure, we are offering food at Drive Through Pantry events.
How do I get an ITP and education plan?
  • An ITP is an Individual Training Plan or describes how many hours per week you will have for classes, labs, and study time. It is required by the County in order to receive supportive services for your activity.
  • An SEP is a Semester Education Plan for a particular semester. You must meet with a counselor to receive it.  The ITP is included at the bottom of the SEP.  The counselor lists the class and labs for which you are enrolled for that semester.  Not all classes are approved to be listed on the SEP/ITP.  They must meet your educational goal or major that is outlined in your Comprehensive Education Plan.  If you don’t have a CEP, you will need to schedule a separate counseling appointment to receive one.
  • A CEP is a Comprehensive Education Plan that is required for all CalWORKs students. We also call is a six semester plan.  It maps out the courses you need in the order to take them to get to your educational goal: certificate, degree, or transfer.  If you change majors, you’ll need a new CEP.
How do I get books or materials for classes?
  • Your worker must already have your current ITP/SEP. CalWORKs staff will send your ITP, transcript, and class schedule directly to PCG or Equus (ResCare).  You will meet with your worker to prepare your Welfare-to-Work plan to approve supportive services (including books) for your classes.
  • There has been new changes regarding the process of books. The county now must issues advance funds for books 10 days before classes starts and it is based on units:
  • If the actual cost of books exceeds the advance payment for books, a proof of receipts is then required.  Reimbursment of actual cost of books and supplies will take 20 days from the receipt of the clain form.
What do I have to do to maintain my eligibility for CalWORKs services?
  • Students must meet with a counselor every semester to complete the ITP/SEP.
  • Students must attend the new student orientation (only need to do once).  Click here to go to the Procedures page.  Scroll down to "New Student Orientation" to get more information and the links needed to complete it.
  • Students must have a current long-term plan (CEP) on file and updated as needed.
  • Students must be currently receiving cash aid for themselves. As long as you are meeting your weekly participation hours, you should not have any issues except in the following examples: 
    • If you time off, you are no longer eligible. Your WTW case will close.
    • If your youngest child turns 18 or graduates high school, you are no longer eligible. Your WTW case will close.
    • If you are sanctioned, you are no longer eligible unless you have a sanction cure plan in place.
    • Sometimes, working students make too much money and are discontinued because they are over the income limits. If that happens, those students are no longer eligible.  Your WTW case will close.
  • The CalWORKs staff check student eligibility several times during a semester through the County system CalWIN. Sometimes we know something is happening with your case before you do.  We will contact you if there is anything that needs to be corrected.  We often advocate to either PCG or Equus (ResCare) or the County on behalf of our students to fix issues and to confirm eligibility if that is in question.  Call the Access line for more information at 866-262-9881.
  • We will contact students as needed to complete ITP/SEPs, orientation, and CEPs.  Please show up for scheduled appointments or that may cause you to lose services.
  • If a student becomes ineligible during a semester, we can still provide counseling services but can no longer expend any funds on that student (i.e., work study, supplies, childcare, etc.).  The student will also lose priority registration unless they are part of another program that provides that service.
Does Cuyamaca CalWORKs offer activities if I do not take classes during Intersession or Summer?
  • CalWORKs offers workshops/activites to help students meet participation hours during breaks from the fall and spring semesters. Workshops and activities usually amount to 20 hours per week or more.  Counselors, staff, or special guests facilitate workshops.  There is also work to do on your own.  During COVID-19, all workshops are conducted on Canvas.
  • Workshops are generally offered during Intersession and Summer.
  • Students will be notified when it’s time to register for these workshops. We will write up an ITP so that you can get supportive services during this time.
Are there other student support programs available at Cuyamaca?
  • EOPS (Extended Opportunities Programs and Services): EOPS offers similar counseling services as CalWORKs for low income students who are educationally disadvantaged. There are eligibility requirements to be part of this program. 
  • CARE (Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education): Another counseling program for low income single parents with children under age 14 and receiving CalWORKs for either the parent or just the children (safety net). There are eligibility requirements to be part of this program.  Click here for more information.
  • DSPS (Disabled Students Programs & Supports): DSPS assists students with disabilities by determining and providing appropriate academic accommodations related to their disabilities in order for them to achieve their educational goals. DSPS increases access, success, and creates inclusive learning environments to students with disabilities so they may participate fully and equitably in college programs and campus life.
  • Tutoring: There were three tutoring centers on campus.  All are able to provide services during the campus shut-down.  Click on the link to learn how to sign up.
    • Academic Resource Center (ARC)
    • Writing, Reading, and ESL Center
    • Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Achievement Center
  • Health and Wellness Center: The Health and Wellness Center is closed to students because of COVID-19. However, you can get questions answered either by phone or by Zoom video appointment.  They also offer wellness webinars.  Go to their website for more information. 
  • Personal Counseling: Short-term counseling is available to help students improve their well-being by discussing, processing, and working through their challenges with trained counselors. Our counseling sessions allow students the opportunity to explore their thoughts, feelings, values, and behavior in a confidential and healing space.  Sessions can be conducted by phone or zoom video meeting.
  • Unlimited Potential! (UP!): A counseling program for former foster youth. There are eligibility requirements to be part of this program. 
  • NextUp: Also a counseling program for former foster youth. There are eligibility requirements to be part of this program. 
  • UMOJA Scholars Program: A student success program aimed for closing the equity and achievement gaps for students that identify as Black, African, and/or African American, which are disproportionately impacted.
  • Veteran Services: Counseling and benefit coordination services for veterans.
  • Phi Theta Kappa:  The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa shall be to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. To achieve this purpose, Phi Theta Kappa shall provide opportunity for the development of leadership and service, for an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.
Will CalWORKs help with writing a recommendation letter for a scholarship?
  • Absolutely! Our counselors will help with writing a recommendation letter for you.  Call the office at 619-660-4340 or email us at cuyamaca.calworks@gcccd.edu.  A staff member will contact you to schedule an appointment.
  • We like to personalize our letters, so please tell us about yourself, your life goals, your family, and some of your personal story. Be prepared to bring this information to your appointment.

 

Common Acronyms, Terms, and Their Meanings:

 

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24-116

This is the required form to document activity hours for a particular month.

Access

General information line for County of San Diego provided services such as welfare, food stamps, and MediCal: 866-262-9881.

Academic and Career Pathways

All degrees are sorted into eight career-focused programs designed around your interests. Click here for more information.

CCPG

California College Promise Grant is the enrollment fee waiver for eligible students.

CE
Career Education – Training for high-wage, high-skill jobs that often takes just one to two years of study, and always costs less than studies at a four-year or private college or university. You have the choice to earn a certificate or degree.  The programs are automotive technology, business and professional studies, paralegal, real estate, Center for Water Studies, computer and information systems, graphic design, CADD and advanced manufacturing, child development, environmental health and safety management, ornamental horticulture, and surveying.  CalWORKs students are encouraged to seriously consider these programs that can lead to good paying employment quickly after completion of either the certificate or degree.  Take the online Career Interest Profiler to find out if you are suited for any of these programs.  Click here for more information.
CEP
Comprehensive Education Plan – required and maps out the classes needed for educational goal of certificate, degree or transfer.
ETA or ECM
ETA (Employment Training Advisor at PCG) and ECM (Employment Case Manager) at Equus (ResCare). They work with you to meet the Welfare-to-Work requirements and arrange supportive services for your approved activity.
Exempt

Exempt means that you have a medical condition, are caring for an ill family member, are age 62 or older, or have a new baby.  This is a County designated status that requires a CW61 form signed by a doctor be submitted for approval.  Exempt means you are not required to fulfill the Welfare-to-Work (WTW) requirements or participation hours and do not have a worker at either PCG or Equus (ResCare) to receive county-provided supportive services.  As long as you are exempt, your 48-month clock stops; however, you are not entitled to the WTW supportive services.

 

If funding permits, the Cuyamaca CalWORKs program can provide supportive services to exempt students (books and materials, parking fee or bus pass, gas cards, and childcare only if the child is at the Cuyamaca Child Development Center (CDC).  If there are no openings at the CDC, you have the option to volunteer for WTW and receive the same supportive services as mandatory participants.

 

All exempt students must have a declared major and long term plan on file.  You are also required to submit CW61 form for all medical or caretaker exemptions be turned in annually.  Students exempt for age (over 62) or new baby do not need a CW61.

Exempt Volunteer

Students have the option to volunteer for WTW and receive the same supportive services as mandatory participants.  Most students do this mainly for childcare.  You will be referred to a contractor for services and will be assigned a worker.  You will be required to turn in an ITP/SEP for supportive services.  However, you will not need to do the full weekly participation hours.  You can just do the minimum need for your class and lab time but you will need to turn in the 24-116 form each month to document hours done.

 

FAFSA
Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Required to received federal and state grants to help pay for college.
GCCCD
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
GPA
Grade Point Average – the average of grades earned in a semester or degree-applicable or overall within the District.
ITP
Individual Training Plan – documents hours for a training activity and required for County-provided supportive services. Due to your worker by the 5th of every month.
Non-Compliance
This determination is listed on a case when a CalWORKs recipient is not meeting activity participation hours or complying with regulations. Recipient must sign a non-compliance plan to meet participation requirements.  If recipient still is not compliant, then a sanction is issued.  If the recipient is a student, they can continue with their classes and services from the Cuyamaca CalWORKs program.  Generally, if a student goes to all class and lab sessions and documents study time, and turns in the 24-116 form every month, non-compliance is rare.
Sanction
An action that happens if a CalWORKs recipient continues to not comply with meeting activity participation hours or complying with regulations. The sanctioned parent’s portion of the CalWORKs grant is stopped and, depending on the reasons, could stop for the entire family.  If the recipient is a student, they will no longer be eligible for services from the Cuyamaca CalWORKs program.  They can continue to take classes if desired.  However, if the student signs a sanction cure plan, they can continue to receive services from the Cuyamaca CalWORKs program.  Generally, if a student goes to all class and lab sessions and documents study time, and turns in the 24-116 form every month, sanction is rare.
SEP
Semester Education Plan is on the same form as the Individual Training Plan that shows classes and labs enrolled for a particular semester.
WebAdvisor/Self-Service
The online portal to everything a student needs: User ID, instructions on how to use WebAdvisor, registration date and time as well as registering for classes, payments, financial aid awards, math/English and ESL placement, class schedule, unofficial transcript, grades, books, and more. The Cuyamaca website has a link to WebAdvisor at the top of every page.
WTW
Welfare-to-Work. This is the employment program of CalWORKs.  If you are a CalWORKs recipient and able-bodied, you must participate in WTW activities to continue to receive cash aid. The law limits the amount of time you can receive CalWORKs and requires that, while you are receiving cash aid, you must be either working or taking part in WTW activities every week.