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Campus & Community

Student Crisis Fund Distributes Over $500,000

Nearly 500 Students Still Await Help as Applications Keep Streaming In

By Maryland Today Staff

Delicate cherry blossoms in foreground, ornate Georgian columns in backgrond

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

UMD's Student Crisis Fund has helped almost 1,100 students so far get through COVID-19 related financial difficulties, but around 500 applicants are still on the waiting list.

The University of Maryland’s Student Crisis Fund had delivered unprecedented help, and still faces unprecedented need.

As of Friday, the fund had given more than $505,000 in grants to nearly 1,100 students struggling with lost jobs and mounting bills amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 11. The backlog of pending applications for help, meanwhile, hovered near 500.

“We’ve seen a great outpouring of support and we’re grateful, but there’s still a ton of unmet need,” said Ed Kenny, director of development and external relations in the Division of Student Affairs, which administers the fund. “We get thousands of dollars in donations every day and immediately give that out. It’s a challenge.”

Since the pandemic started, 1,623 donors had contributed about $268,000 as of Friday to continue providing assistance to students after both the Student Crisis Fund and the Parent and Family Student Life Fund were drained.

Applications on April 2 spiked to their highest level ever—252—after setting a previous record of 231 on March 20, said Sarah Williamson, coordinator in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The rise might have been caused by media coverage of the program and by rent and other payments due at the start of the month, she said.

Among the students the fund has helped so far:

  • A first-generation college student who works as a substitute teacher, but lost work when Maryland schools physically closed and needs help to pay for rent.
  • A sophomore kicked out of her house after she became pregnant who needs help to pay for prenatal care and rent.
  • A junior whose parents’ small business closed and who is struggling to help the family with mortgage, utility and car payments.
  • A junior in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who relies on family contributions for rent and groceries. Help has dried up because they can’t work enough hours during the pandemic.
  • A junior who can’t work at her campus personal trainer job, and who can’t find another job because she is pregnant and worried about the effect of the virus on her unborn baby.
  • A senior whose mother lost her job in an elementary school cafeteria and who needs to help her family pay rent and utilities at home.
  • An international graduate student whose campus job closed and is cut off from funds from home because of the virus lockdown in their home country, making it difficult to pay for rent and groceries.
  • A U.S. Army reservist who is studying and working on campus lost income because of the pandemic and needs help paying for rent, utilities and groceries.
  • A senior who can’t work at any of their three regular jobs and is struggling with paying a car loan and insurance.
  • A senior from a single-parent immigrant household who is waiting to begin receiving unemployment funds for lost work, but needs help now with utilities and food.


Schools & Departments:

Division of Student Affairs

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