The Northwestern State University Foundation is helping to ease financial hardship caused by COVID-19 through an emergency assistance fund. So far, about 90 students have applied for assistance with rent, bills, groceries, internet access, electronics for online classes, loss of jobs and other expenses.
The emergency fund was created last month and is open to students, faculty and staff impacted by closures and restrictions and includes contract workers with Sodexo, Red River Sanitors and others. Applicants require a short biography, description of hardship with specific costs and details, including receipts if available, and the amount of the request. All requests will be granted based on committee recommendations and need as funds are available.
“We understand that the coronavirus has affected people all over our great nation. Yet, we are asking our dedicated alumni, supportive community and committed supporters to share with our NSU families who have been hit so hard with this situation, to donate as they are able to the NSU Foundation for this worthy cause. We are confident that our great Demon Nation will come through in generous support of each other,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio.
“Many of our students relied on jobs in the service and retail sectors and other ‘non-essential’ occupations to pay their bills,” said Erin Dupree, assistant director of donor relations. “With NSU classes now migrated to online and alternate delivery, some have limited access to technology. Some have parents who can no longer help because they are also out of work and our international students definitely need help because they can’t get back home. We want to do everything we can to help during these uncertain times.”
One applicant asked for $45 for cleaning expenses, $136 for food and $30 for medicine.
“I am no longer employed and can’t buy basic things such as food, cleaning supplies and certain medicines. I want to stay safe during this virus situation and making sure that I’m sanitized as well as my place of living, as well as making sure I have food to eat and medicine to stay healthy,” the student wrote.
An international student, whose job was considered non-essential, requested funds to cover rent, groceries and school expenses.
“Unfortunately, my family is not able to help me and I do not receive any financial help from them. I found myself very concerned and worried on how I am going to do this in hard times until everything goes back to normal again.”
A radiologic sciences major who is a commuter is also struggling. That student provided receipts for required textbooks in the amount of $70 and $135.
“Due to the COVID-19 my job is currently shut down until the quarantine is over. With my job, I have been funding myself to get back and forth to school, tuition, books and other needs for school and myself. My 8-week online courses began when the shutdown of my job began. Without my job I am not able to purchase my online access codes for my two 8-week courses.
“Also, this semester I have to pay tuition out of pocket. I have been saving to pay my tuition before the semester ends. Since the outbreak and my job shutting down, I haven’t had a choice but to pay bills and buy personal needs with the money that I had been saving for tuition. I have been living with my grandmother, she had been ill with an upper respiratory infection. Last week, she tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, I haven’t been allowed to stay home for the sake of my health and her properly quarantining so she can get better.”
“We are hearing many stories like this from the applicants,” Dupree said. “For more of these students, even $100 makes a difference.”
To make a donation to support the coronavirus assistance fund, visit http://www.northwesternstatealumni.com/donations/coronavirus-assistance-fund/. For more information, contact Dupree at firstname.lastname@example.org or (318) 357-5699.