Students experiencing an unexpected financial hardship will once again be able to turn to the Student Emergency Fund in 2019, thanks to two generous foundations that are supporting the grant-funded program for a second year.
The fund was established at UAlbany last year after the University was selected as one of seven SUNY schools to be a recipient. It’s designed to help students with “run-of-the-mill” emergencies, such as a broken laptop or medical expense, which may jeopardize their ability to stay on-track with their educations.
The donors, the Gerstner Family Foundation and the Heckscher Foundation for Children, with assistance from the SUNY Impact Foundation, have announced that they will support the Fund at UAlbany through 2019.
The University previously maintained a small fund for the rare cases in which a student faced a catastrophic emergency, but the fund was not nearly enough to meet demand, said Sally D’Alessandro, director of Student CARE Services. The newly renewed grant, for $110,000, will have a significant impact on the University’s ability to help more students.
Through the generosity of the two foundations, more than 50 students to date have received money to help them stay on-track with their academics. Of the students who received funds, approximately 86 percent of them remained in school and were able to continue their educations.
“Prior to this fund being established, I often heard about situations where a surprise expense would force a student to face the difficult decision of withdrawing from the University,” said D’Alessandro. “I have students come to me saying that if it weren’t for the money they received through the Student Emergency Fund, they wouldn’t have been able to stay here at UAlbany.”
Recent uses of the fund include the aiding of two students who had their textbooks and laptops replaced after their car was broken into. Another student had to undergo emergency surgery and was faced with a large co-pay, which the Fund covered. A third student turned to UAlbany when he needed grocery money to carry him through Thanksgiving break.
“In some cases, we’re talking as little as $50 being all that a student needs to help them get out of an incredibly stressful situation,” D’Alessandro continued. “It’s a relief knowing that we’re able to help students with something relatively small in the overall scheme of things. The funding from the Gerstner Family Foundation and the Heckscher Foundation for Children will allow us to keep doing exactly that.”