Donors Step Forward to Help FCC Students
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world and been disruptive for many local college students, particularly for those who work part time or have childcare or other responsibilities. With closed businesses, lost work, and mounting bills some students have put their dreams on hold.
Since March, about 70 donors have contributed more than $13,000 to an emergency fund at Frederick Community College designed to help students endure a short-term crisis. The Student Success Fund was established in 2015 by President Elizabeth Burmaster to help FCC students temporarily cover school expenses and pay for food, rent, utilities, and childcare.
“We are humbled by the perseverance and dedication of our students as they strive to improve their lives through higher education,” said Burmaster. “Students face so many challenges, and this coronavirus has created another hurdle for them. We are grateful for the individuals and organizations that have stepped forward to serve as a financial bridge so students can stay the course and reach their academic goal.”
The Fund has served as a valuable lifeline for students to get through an immediate crisis, most recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. About 20 FCC students applied for money to cover school and living expenses over the past month. One student was unemployed and homeless after the stay-at-home orders and accepted emergency funds to shelter at a local hotel.
While the world is now in the throes of the pandemic, students have applied for help to get through financial hardships such as a needed car repair, transportation to and from FCC on Frederick Transit, or purchase of expensive textbooks. The Student Success Fund serves as a stopgap measure and not for ongoing student expenses.
“Applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis,” said FCC Foundation Executive Director Deborah Powell. “During this time, we are focusing our efforts on helping students who have been paying for tuition on their own, without financial assistance or loan eligibility, and have now lost employment as a result of COVID-19.”
Powell said she expects applications to grow in the coming weeks as the economy continues to languish and out-of-work students’ rent, utilities, and other bills come due. Students have been working through their spring classes online since March.
The FCC Foundation oversees and administers the Student Success Fund – through the FCC Office of Institutional Advancement – and recently garnered grants of $5,000 from the Delaplaine Foundation and $3,000 from United Way of Frederick County. The Community Foundation of Frederick County also earmarked $2,000 to assist students with food and housing.
FCC students can apply for the emergency funds at www.frederick.edu/studentsuccess. For more information, contact FCC Scholarship Program Manager Michael Thornton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals and companies can donate to the Student Success Fund at www.frederick.edu/onlinegiving.