The tremendous disruption to lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led the University of Wisconsin-Stout to establish an emergency fund to aid students caught short by rapidly unfolding events or special circumstances.
“This fund was created to assist students faced with the difficult decision of whether to continue with school or not, due to an unexpected financial challenge,” said Chancellor Katherine P. Frank in announcing the fund. “This fund is intended for students who have exhausted all other financial resources.”
Frank said she and her husband, Joe Dvorsky, felt so strongly about helping students that they contributed $15,000 to establish the fund. The Stout University Foundation is conducting an ongoing fundraising campaign to build the fund further.
To be eligible for the fund, a student must be enrolled at UW-Stout, have a temporary financial hardship and have exhausted other financial resources. Students can apply through an online form.
The maximum amount a student can receive is $500. The type of expenses that can be covered include, but are not limited to:
- Books, fees and other school-related expenses
- Food and meals
- Gas or car repairs
- Public transportation
- Rent and utilities
- Medical and dental expenses
The fund is being administered by the Dean of Students Office.
Dean of Students Sandi Scott said the stories she and her staff have heard have been heartbreaking, with the majority of the aid going to assist students with utilities, rent or food.
“In almost all cases students were requesting aid because they lost their on campus or off campus job,” she said, “which was the only income they had for paying rent.”
In one case, Scott said, a single mom approached the office because she lost her off-campus job and needed assistance “to provide food for the family for the next month.”
In another case, she said, a student was using an on-campus and an off-campus job to support both herself and her parents, who are disabled and cannot work. The emergency assistance helped provide food for the family.
Here are some reactions from fund recipients the office has received for the assistance:
“I could cry, I am so thankful for what Stout has done for me.”
“Without your help, I don't know what I would have done.”
“Thank you for being there in my time of need.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Anyone wanting to contribute to the fund can do so here.
Katherine P. Frank