Student support initiative addresses emergency financial needs
Student services professionals throughout the University of Alaska will be able to
quickly address student needs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a new
student support initiative.
The initiative will allow front-line staffers at each university to draw on new funding sources to help students with a wide variety of emergency financial needs. The goal is to solve those problems quickly so students can continue their studies.
“Just like all Alaskans, our students are struggling with the financial impact of this pandemic,” said University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen. “Sometimes $100 to help with a household bill or utility payment can mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out. Helping our students clear these hurdles is the right thing to do.”
Funding for the initiative will come from two sources. Johnsen has allocated $450,000 in university funding to the effort. Each university also has a designated Student Support Fund that will allow financial contributions from alumni and donors to make gifts to address urgent student needs beyond those that can be met by the universities.
Since the start of the pandemic, student services offices have seen an increase in requests for help. As classes moved online and campus buildings closed, students have faced greater financial hardships. Some students have seen their hours reduced or eliminated at their off-campus or on-campus jobs, and are struggling to choose between making a tuition payment or paying rent, filling their gas tank or purchasing school supplies, or paying a phone bill or buying food.
Student services units at each of the universities will be responsible for working with individual students and approving requests for help. Students can find applications for help online at http://bit.ly/uacovidresources
“This partnership between our alumni and donors and the university will allow us flexibility to address the broad range of immediate needs our students are dealing with,” Johnsen said.