Pacific’s Student Emergency Fund was formed in 2020 in order to assist those in the Pacific community, both undergraduate and professional, in paying crucial expenses. Now, a year later, the fund is still moving forward with providing aid to applicants in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While other funds have been available to students through Pacific in the past couple of months, the student emergency fund is still accessible for any student who may have finances that hinder their learning experience, like rent, food expenses, or technology needs. The fund currently consists of about $188,200 from 631 donors that vary from alumni and current students to faculty.
Leslie Limper, director of financial aid at Pacific, said that the idea for the fund began before the pandemic spread to campus.
“We had been thinking about starting the student Emergency Fund,” said Limper. “When the pandemic hit, we started getting some donations.”
The fund is funded solely by independent donations and helps a wide range of students with various needs.
“I think, last time I checked, there were about 300 students in the past year who benefited from the fund,” said Limper of the number of students applying for gifts from the fund.
Both undergraduate and graduate students have found help through the fund and have been able to cover payments for expenses ranging from transportation to technology.
“We had a big surge of applications at the very beginning (of the pandemic) when everyone was going online because they didn’t have the equipment,” recalled Limper.
However, as donations are slowing down, the main goal of the financial aid office in keeping the fund alive is to find more donors who are willing to give.
“Right now, we’re trying to raise some more money because the fund is almost depleted,” said Limper.
One such donor is the Pacific’s Undergraduate Student Senate. Doan Pham, the president of the undergraduate student senate, said that giving to the fund in order to allow students vital resources was a no-brainer.
“Pacific really strives to improve the quality of education as well as strive to ensure that students have a safe and comfortable place,” said Pham, “This year, the Student Senate hoped that we could be a part of their support, which would be a great way to encourage students.”
USS donated $15,000 to the fund this year, which Pham says supported 30 students in their learning process. The application for the Student Emergency Fund is still on Pacific’s website as well as a link for those who are interested in donating. –Isabelle Williams