July 10, 2020

COVID-19 Fund Supports Students in Time of Critical Need

PBA News

A nursing student’s stethoscope. An immunocompromised student’s medicine. A summer scholar’s essentials.

These are a few of the practical, urgent needs that Palm Beach Atlantic has met, thanks to the support of generous donors to the COVID-19 Student Fund. The fund provides emergency support for the sudden, unexpected financial burdens that might otherwise prevent students from continuing their studies.

To date, the University has raised more than $25,000 and distributed about half of that, said Director of Annual Fund Development Ellen Vaughan. Nine students received aid so far, with more under review. The amount of an award varies based on each person’s needs, said Vaughan, who serves on the compassion committee that evaluates the needs.

The most common needs are money for rent, utilities and food, said Kate Magro, assistant vice president for student development and a member of the evaluating committee with Vaughan.

For one chronically ill student who can’t assume the risk of going to work, the money allows her to buy school books and medical items that she needs to survive. She is able to continue her education studying medicine so that she can help others, she said.

“When I got the call, I started crying because a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and my heart was full of thankfulness and joy,” she wrote in a thank-you note. “I cannot ever express just how deeply moved I am by this assistance.”

Added another recipient: “It is greatly appreciated from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your commitment to keep students thriving through hard times.”

Using the University’s early alert system, any faculty or staff member can submit the name of a student in need. Students also may nominate themselves. Nathan Chau, assistant director of Workship, and Dr. Cora Barnhart, associate professor of economics, serve on the compassion committee with Magro and Vaughan.

Undergraduate and graduate students from both the West Palm Beach and Orlando campuses have benefited, Magro said.

Many students and their families are experiencing new challenges such as unemployment, loss of business, transportation issues and difficulty accessing basic needs for remote learning. A gift in any amount provides critical resources to help them start and finish strong. Make a gift online here.

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