“I will never forget how you aided me in my time of need,” wrote one health and human sciences student to UNCG’s Division of Student Affairs. “I was going to be in way over my head this summer with bills and tuition.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this student – and others – found their university experience dramatically changed. They had to adapt to online classes at the end of March, and many were faced with new obstacles. Where should they live, how will they get there, where will they eat? Some struggled to support not only themselves but also loved ones they live with or care for.
UNCG stood ready to help. In April, faculty, staff, and alumni banded together to strengthen safety nets addressing immediate student needs.
Among these is the Student Assistance Fund for Emergencies (SAFE). Established by the Class of 1967 and operated by the Division of Student Affairs, SAFE provides one-time assistance to matriculating students experiencing financial emergencies. These grants have covered sudden expenses for housing, traveling, and education throughout the pandemic.
Its work continues this fall.
“Our students need us now more than ever,” says Dr. Brett Carter, associate vice chancellor and dean of students. “We are creating a culture of care, which in turn motivates our students to become their best selves.”
As of September, the Office of Student Affairs had awarded $98,000 to 212 students through SAFE. The average award is $462. The office has been flooded with gratitude.
“Thank you for providing this fund to students who are struggling,” said a Class of 2020 graduate. “I cried with gratitude when I learned I would get help. Because of this award, I was able to finish my master’s in human development and family studies and feel hope again.”
By Michelle Danner-Groves
Graphic by Amy Snyder