As individuals and communities continue to struggle in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Georgia community has rallied to commit thousands of dollars in new emergency funds for students experiencing unforeseen financial difficulties.
Since March 20, a total of $600,000 has been added to two private funds established by President Jere W. Morehead to aid students: the Undergraduate Student Emergency Fund and the Graduate Student Emergency Fund. Morehead authorized the transfer of $475,000 from the President’s Venture Fund for this purpose, while the trustees of the UGA Foundation directed another $125,000.
“We are grateful for the generosity of alumni and friends who have provided these discretionary dollars to be used for priorities identified by the institution,” said Morehead. “At this time, the leaders of our Foundation and I agree that we need to apply these resources to help ensure the welfare of our students in need.”
Applications for the funds are being coordinated through the Office of Student Financial Aid in partnership with Student Care and Outreach for the Undergraduate Student Emergency Fund and in partnership with the Graduate School for the Graduate Student Emergency Fund. Students may contact them through the links provided.
“We are prioritizing the awarding of these funds to students who demonstrate significant financial need and have exhausted available resources such as student loans,” said Anthony Jones, director of student financial aid. “As of today, our requests for assistance from undergraduates have exceeded 300 individuals.”
With regard to graduate students, the Graduate School has received nearly 40 applications for financial support. “These additional resources are critically needed right now and are being expeditiously deployed to help graduate students meet their financial obligations,” said Interim Dean Ron Walcott.
President Morehead and Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Kelly Kerner have launched a special giving campaign to support the effort. The campaign will continue as long as the need remains.
In addition—in response to a request from parents and students to do so—the University is offering a way for students themselves to contribute by donating a portion of the student fee refund they will soon be receiving to help their fellow students.
“By giving to student emergency funds, our donors can have a powerful, direct and immediate effect on these students’ lives—providing them the means to buy food, pay rent, receive medicine and medical care, secure the technology they need to continue their education and more,” Kerner said. “What we do today will last long after this moment has passed.”
To support UGA’s most vulnerable students during this global crisis, please visit UGA’s Coronavirus Emergency Support website.