We know this has been a tough time for our students, as well as the community. When the pandemic struck, many lost their jobs or had their hours cut. They were learning from home, their kids were learning from home and trying to make ends meet. It was like trying to find your way in a strange place with all of the lights out. I think we can all agree it was a learning experience for all of us.
To help offset the financial burdens brought on by COVID-19, colleges and universities nationwide received Federal CARES Act funding. Yet many students were exempt from receiving this aid because of citizenship, residency or enrollment status. Recognizing the great hardship some of our students were facing, the QCC Foundation contributed $25,000 to start a Student Emergency Fund.
More than $109,000 has been raised, which has helped 526 students in immediate financial distress. An additional $53,000 in grant awards were repurposed to help 200 students get laptops and continue with their courses remotely. A survey done by the college found that of those who applied and received aid, 52% did not qualify for other aid, 47% had lost their jobs, 72% had reduced working hours, and 33% had out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Many people and organizations came to our students’ aid. Donations came from faculty, staff, directors and trustees, alumni, as well as foundations, banks, corporations, grants and private donors. Our sincere thanks and gratitude go out to everyone who has made a donation.
The ultimate goal of the Student Emergency Fund is to eliminate barriers that prevent student success and already we are seeing a positive response. Of the students who received aid (between $100- $250 per student), 93% did not withdraw from college and 90% did not withdraw from a course. Students said they used the aid to help with rent, mortgage, groceries, utilities, transportation, credit card bills, student loans, books and medical bills.
“When COVID-19 hit, my technology was not updated enough to be able to continue taking my courses online. Without QCC's help, I would not have been able to purchase a new device to attend my sessions. The cash help I received is destined to buy the materials that I will need for the Fall Semester. I am deeply and truly grateful for this help,” said one student aid recipient.
As of now, 75% of the Student Emergency Fund has been used. While many students say the aid has helped them, many more are continuing to struggle financially as we head into the Fall semester.
“I lost two jobs. The only one left was four hours a week. It was terrible,” said another aid recipient.
This is not a test. This has been an actual emergency. We have no way of knowing what the future will bring, but we do know that we will be here for our students no matter what. We hope you will consider supporting the QCC Student Emergency Fund to help make a difference in the lives of our students.
If you are a QCC student who needs a helping hand, visit Student Emergency Assistance .