Frequently Asked Questions

Are the grants awarded for one year or three years?

Grants are awarded for one year. We anticipate funding grantees over the course of three years so as to foster greater stability for deeper planning at each site. However, continued funding is contingent upon progress toward meeting agreed-upon grant goals and objectives.

Can a campus submit more than one initial application?

No. Each campus can only submit one initial application.

Can campuses partner on a project?

Yes, we encourage coordinated efforts and will consider single applications from multiple campuses, but we will neither accept nor fund more than one full proposal from any given campus.

My campus currently offers no resources for undocumented students. Can we apply for funding to jumpstart efforts?

Yes, you can submit an initial application outlining your proposed project and strategy. We will consider any and all evidence you present indicating if or how your campus is well-positioned to carry out the proposed work.

What type of services might you fund?

Examples of the type of services that campuses might include (but are not limited to) in their proposed projects:

  • Strengthening and expanding availability of immigration legal supports to students and families
  • Family deportation contingency planning
  • Culturally competent services for mental and emotional health
  • Outreach to potential students
  • Training on entrepreneurship and small business ownership
  • Bolstering connections to vital campus resources such as academic advising, financial aid, and other services critical to undocumented students’ success

Will you make funding available beyond the initial grant to sustain our projects?

The Catalyst Fund in a three-year initiative. Our aim is that campuses will have embedded into their own institutions a plan of action to sustain their projects by the end of year three of our funding.

How will we sustain our projects after the Fund closes in three years?

The Catalyst Fund seeks to shift how higher education in California thinks about and supports undocumented students. The goal is for campuses to institutionalize efforts to serve undocumented students, based on their unique needs, just like they would serve first-time college students, former foster youth, and other specific populations.

Are indirect/overhead costs allowed in a proposed grant budget? If so, do you have a standard indirect/overhead cost rate you abide by?

Yes, indirect costs are allowed in the budget. We will generally consider an indirect cost rate of up to 15% depending on the size of the grant request and it must be accounted for in the project budget.

Does the fund have a preference for whether the university or its 501(c)3 arm is the applicant?

No. Either the college/university or its corresponding foundation can submit an application. However, only one application can be submitted by a campus or its corresponding foundation.

Is there an expectation that a new staff person be hired to implement this grant?

No, you do not need to propose hiring a new full-time or part-time staff person to implement your project. We only ask that you make clear in your proposal that there would be a designated person who would implement the work. This could either be a new or existing staff person.

How should we address the question about demonstrating that we can serve “significant numbers” of undocumented immigrants if those numbers are difficult to ascertain?

To address this question, you could speak with colleagues in your campus’ Admission and Records or Financial Aid offices. You could also speak with colleagues in your Institutional Research office, if one exists in your District or campus. You can also visit the following link to learn about the estimated number of undocumented individuals in your county (the original report was written by the Public Policy Institute of California. That information was based on information for the Center for Migration Policy studies):

Can you clarify if a campus can be a lead on one grant proposal and a subcontractor on another?

Institutions can either be part of a collaborative proposal or be submitting a single campus proposal, but not both.

To enhance community connections, can a community college district propose to collaborate with local school districts?

The focus of your proposal ought to be on services to be provided through a program that is based at a 2- or 4-year college or university. You are welcome to propose a project that incorporates outreach strategies to local school districts, but the proposed programming ought to be at the post-secondary campus/es.

Can funding be used to support any type of student stipends? 

If your proposed program strategy involves engaging students directly in the implementation of some of your services to reach a significant population size, then yes, you could propose providing stipends to those students.

Can a campus with an existing Center submit a proposal, or are you exclusively looking to fund campuses with new/nascent programs/Centers?

The Catalyst Fund would be interested to know about specific ways in which your program/Center is positioned to meet service gaps, or expand to reach a wider population of students and families. Also, if you have an existing program with new/nascent components, the Catalyst Fund would be interested to know how potential grant support could help you deepen that work and further institutionalize your overall efforts.

Do you want applicants to identify any technical assistance needs?

As you’re drafting your Phase I application (LOI), it is not necessary to focus on identifying your technical assistance needs at this point. If you feel that doing so is essential to your proposed strategy, you could signal to the application reviewers why technical assistance would be a major area of consideration if your project was awarded. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, you could elaborate on the issue of technical assistance then, but we expect that conversations about specific technical assistance needs would take place once grantees have been identified.

Can we serve students from mixed-status families with this grant or only undocumented students?

You can serve undocumented students and their mixed-status families.

Are collaborations with external partners preferred over collaborations with other post-secondary institutions?

Each proposal will be reviewed to discern which collaborations could best serve individual campuses.  As such, you should highlight what is best for your institution.

Since Phase I of the application cycle is only supposed to include what we would do in Year 1 of our project, how can we show what our long-term (3-year goals) would be?

You do not need to focus extensively on what you could accomplish in Years 2 and 3 at this time. However, you could briefly signal to the application reviewers what your overall intended goal is for your project.

Our campus is thinking of submitting a collaborative proposal with several other campuses. Would we also be able to submit a second proposal for just our campus?

No. Institutions can either be part of a collaborative proposal or be submitting a single campus proposal, but not both.

Are we allowed to provide emergency food and transportation so that students can participate in the project?

Grant funds are not allowed for any programming element which would only benefit individual participants without benefit to the broader student and family base that you would serve.

Can grant funds be used toward paying the legal fees/immigration-related case processing fees, etc. for students and families?

No. Grant funds cannot be used to pay for legal fees/immigration-related case processing fees for students and their families. Instead, grant funds could be used to pay for legal services and related programming offered to students and families on your campus.

Should a proposed budget cover the first year of the program or all 3 years?

Only the first year.

When submitting the Phase I application, does the budget count as part of the 3-5 page limit?

No. You can submit your budget as a separate document beyond the 3-5 narrative limit. You can save and submit both the narrative and budget as a single document, or you could attach them separately in your emailed submission which is due by May 1st.

Should we reference/include websites and other promotional materials related to our existing programs in the Phase I application as appendices?

You can include web addresses in your application, but please do not include additional promotional materials or text as it could affect your 3-5 narrative page limit.

Can a multi-college collaboration propose a request of $125K per campus for Year 1?

The Catalyst Fund asks that your proposal be grounded on the specific needs that your collaboration identifies and on your proposed strategy to address those needs, rather than on the expected average grant award amount that could be requested. Please note that campuses may receive grants above $125K and others may receive less than that based on their size, scope, existing resources, etc.

Will each of the higher education systems be represented in the application review committee?

Yes. There will be representation from CCC, CSU, and UC, educators, advocates, as well as current or former students.

Can we propose to serve families within our broader communities or only the families of our undocumented students?

Services supported through Catalyst Fund grants are meant to support undocumented students and their families at college or university campuses that receive those grants. The focus is not on providing services to the broader community.

Could grant funds be used to have students attend conferences?

If you will propose using funding to take individual students to any conference, you will need to demonstrate how their attending such conferences would be of benefit to a broader population that you serve, not just those individual students who would attend said conferences.

What is meant by “standard font & size” for formatting the application?

By standard fonts we mean familiar ones such as, “Calibri” or “Arial” or “Times New Roman”, etc. By standard font size we mean, 12 (11 would be fine too) point font but not smaller or larger than that. Margins could be set at standard letter size or you could move them slightly if you prefer. Spacing can be double or 1.5.

Regarding the two grantee meetings per year for funded grantees, should we include funds for these meetings in our project budgets? For how many attendees? Where will they be held?

No, you do not need to include projected costs for these activities on your proposed budget. These meetings will take place in the Bay Area and/or Southern California. The Catalyst Fund will cover related costs directly in order for awarded grantees to attend those convenings.