The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered life for West Virginia University students and their families, many of whom are unsure how they will afford food, housing and education costs in the coming months.
To help students meet basic needs and proceed with their studies amid these unprecedented circumstances, the WVU Foundation is working to provide need-based financial support via the Gray Student Emergency Fund. Established in 2013 by retired Student Life Vice President Ken Gray and his wife, Carolyn, the Emergency Fund provides timely financial assistance to current WVU students who experience a sudden financial hardship that could prevent them from continuing their education or otherwise impact their success at WVU.
A dedicated webpage has been created to facilitate financial support for the Gray Student Emergency Fund and other important services provided by WVU during the coronavirus crisis. Contributions to the Emergency Fund will enable WVU to provide need-based financial help to students who cannot afford immediate, essential expenses. WVU leaders are working with officials in each academic unit to identify students in need and ensure available funds are awarded strategically for maximum impact.
“We know this is a challenging time for everyone, but we’ve been encouraged by the growing number of Mountaineers asking how they can help,” said B.J. Davisson, executive vice president and chief development officer for the WVU Foundation. “We have heard so many heart-wrenching stories from our students, their parents and others regarding the financial challenges they are facing. We want to do everything we can to honor our students’ commitment to continue their education while also ensuring their physical and emotional well-being.”
Many WVU students and their families have reached out to the University seeking help. Among them:
- One student, whose parents both recently lost their jobs, is concerned her family will have to choose between paying the mortgage or her outstanding tuition.
- Another student fears eviction after losing a second job she works – in addition to a federal work-study position – to help pay for rent and food.
- The mother of a WVU student is worried her son will have to drop out because she can no longer afford his tuition after losing her job.
Prior to moving classes online, WVU employed more than 4,000 students not hired through federal work-study programs and not subject to student aid provisions included in the CARES Act. The Emergency Fund may provide relief to those students, as well as those who live and work off campus and students whose parents have lost wages, depending on the availability of funds.
All donations are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.