A special fundraising initiative launched this week urges West Virginia University alumni, donors and friends to help boost emergency unrestricted scholarship support for students facing unprecedented need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WVU Foundation is leading the coordinated fundraising effort, which aims to unite Mountaineer Nation in support of a stronger WVU. All funds raised will offset the pandemic’s devastating economic impact on current and prospective WVU students and their families to ensure as many students as possible achieve their higher education dreams.
“Our current and future students have been particularly hard hit by the financial challenges caused by the coronavirus,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “The financial hardship many are now experiencing is overwhelming and heartbreaking and we all have heard moving stories about students who fear that college has slipped beyond their reach. We must work to see that doesn’t happen.
“That is why I have asked that unrestricted emergency scholarship support for students and prospective students be our exclusive institutional fundraising focus for the foreseeable future. This crisis demands a unified focus, enabling us to target help effectively and efficiently to those who need it. “
In recent weeks, WVU students have shared heart-wrenching stories about the effects of COVID-19 on their lives: A freshman majoring in biology is worried about paying for tuition and other expenses after her self-employed mother had to stop working. A junior studying dental hygiene is unsure how her family will afford required coursework after her mom was laid off and her dad’s small business shut down. A student whose parents both lost their jobs is concerned they will have to choose between paying the mortgage or her tuition.
Although the CARES Act provides about $10 million in emergency financial assistance for students and WVU has paid $13.6 million in housing and dining refunds, University officials expect the need for financial assistance to significantly exceed available funds as students and their families look toward the 2020-’21 academic year. Also, private dollars raised recently by the Foundation for the Gray Student Emergency Fund are expected to be disbursed quickly.
“We, like so many, are inspired by our students and how they have risen to the challenge of moving courses online to protect everyone’s health and safety – in some cases, at great personal sacrifice,” B.J. Davisson, executive vice president and chief development officer of the WVU Foundation, said. “And we have been so encouraged by the growing number of Mountaineers asking how they can help the next generation, coming together as we know the WVU community always does in times of need. If we all unite to show our support, we can help WVU and its students emerge from this experience stronger than ever.”
Donations can be made by contacting Jena Prokopchuk, WVU Foundation executive director of leadership annual giving, at 304-282-5929 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or online via a secure and dedicated giving webpage.
Students who believe they qualify should contact the Mountaineer Hub and submit an online ticket requesting assistance due to the COVID pandemic. The WVU Office of Financial Aid oversees awarding scholarships for all WVU students in accordance with each student’s aid eligibility
All gifts to the “We are Stronger Together” fundraising initiative are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.