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Scholarship initiative provides $389K to students affected by pandemic

WVU graduation ceremonies, May 2021

The WVU Foundation’s “We Are Stronger Together” scholarship initiative is empowering students in need to proceed with their education and earn their degrees. 

Generous support from West Virginia University alumni, donors and friends is empowering more than 400 students in need to proceed with their education amid the enduring economic challenges of COVID-19.

We Are Stronger Together,” a special scholarship initiative launched by the WVU Foundation, has provided over $389,000 to date to assist students affected by the pandemic with tuition, room and board, and other educational expenses.

Rising sophomore Erin Fennelly was unsure she could afford to continue her studies after she was laid off from her restaurant job last year. As she struggled to find work, her dad’s job was also affected by the pandemic.

“When I found out that I had received the We Are Stronger Together Scholarship, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” Fennelly said. “I felt like I could finally start to enjoy college a little more, focus on academics more, focus on my social life more and just do things that I wanted to do rather than stress about the money 24/7.”

Even as COVID-19 safety restrictions ease in West Virginia and beyond, many WVU students and their families are struggling to afford higher education costs due to the pandemic’s lasting financial impact. Without scholarship aid, these students may be forced to suspend attending classes, enroll elsewhere or drop out altogether.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been inspiring to see Mountaineer Nation come together in support of our students,” B.J. Davisson, executive vice president and chief development officer of the WVU Foundation, said. “Yet we know many of our students still need help to start or continue their higher education. Your gift – no matter the size – will make a difference by helping students move on with their lives and achieve their dreams.” 

Fennelly is grateful she can pursue her dream to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from WVU and help others as a trauma nurse at a big-city hospital. Eventually, she hopes to go on to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner.

“To anyone that donated to this fund, I cannot thank you enough,” Fennelly said. “I can safely say that I had a better freshman-year experience because of you. I enjoyed it more because of you, and I will forever be grateful for how much you helped me.”

Donations to the “We Are Stronger Together” scholarship initiative can be made by contacting Jena Prokopchuk, WVU Foundation executive director of leadership annual giving, at 304-282-5929 or

Students who believe they qualify should contact the Mountaineer Hub and submit an online ticket requesting assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 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” initiative are made through the Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.

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