UTEP Student Emergency Fund has helped nearly 20 students

The+Student+Emergency+Fund+is+meant+to+help+students+not+veer+off+the+path+of+their+academic+achievement+due+to+these+unprecedented+circumstances.

Claudia Hernandez

The Student Emergency Fund is meant to help students not veer off the path of their academic achievement due to these unprecedented circumstances.

Sasha Minjarez, Contributor

UTEP established a Student Emergency Fund to provide students with financial relief during this unprecedented time of coping with the impacts of COVID-19. While it currently focuses on the effects of the pandemic, the fund is permanent and will continue to offer urgent relief to students should they find themselves in a predicament that is pressing.    

The emergency fund operates through a combination of crowdfunding, private funding, and initial support from the chancellor of the University of Texas System, with generous donations being matched for up to $25,000.  

“The funds have come from alumni, faculty and staff, community members and even students. The Greek student organizations came together to raise over $2,000 to support their fellow students,” UTEP officials said. “The UTEP community has truly made an impact while supporting our students. Almost 50% of the gifts to the Student Emergency Fund were made by UTEP faculty and staff.”    

As of April 24, the emergency fund has raised $63,640, and 19 students have benefited.   

The Student Emergency Fund is intended to fund rent or utility bills, and the procuring of any necessary technological requirements such as devices, laptops, the installation of Wi-Fi or Hotspot services, as well as fundamental provisions, such as groceries in order to provide alleviation during this time 

Because funding is limited, select students who exhibit a need for essential needs can apply to receive funding. Dean of Students Catie McCorry-Andalis says that case managers at the Dean of Students Office will be working closely with students on an individual basis to assess and make every effort to accommodate their unique circumstances.   

“All the money is going to students for emergency assistance so that can include paying utility bills, rent that they haven’t been able to pay, or technology needs,” McCorry-Andalis said. “Maybe they have unforeseen medical expenses or other needs for difficult situations that a student might find themselves in.  

If the assessment reveals that a student’s needs diverge in ways that are impertinent to what this emergency fund is intended for, McCorry-Andalis assures that staff will extend all other resources availablemaking sure they are informed about additional aids and resources such as the UTEP Food Pantrypossible repackaging arrangements with the office of Student Financial Aid, CARES Act funding and Foster Homeless Adopted Resources (FHAR). 

“The biggest thing that students who are struggling or have things that are happening and need it, contact the Dean of Students Office so we can provide the help, and resources, and support because there’s a lot available,” McCorry-Andalis said. The fund is a big part of that, but there’s so many more services and support for students.” 

Efforts continue to expand the reach of this fund by promoting the encouragement of generous donations.    

“We are doing a big push on campus a large number of our faculty and staff have been really generous to give money to this fund,” McCorry-Andalis said.  Next Tuesday is also Giving Tuesday and we’re doing a big push for our community and friends of the university, and others to say, Hey, give some money and help our students out because we know there’s need.’”  

Students who wish to verify their eligibility for funding may contact the Dean of Student’s Office at [email protected]Contributions to the UTEP Student Emergency Fund can be gifted through pickaproject.utep.edu/studentemergencyfund. 

“Every dollar counts. If someone can give five dollars, that’s five dollars more than we had,” McCorry-Andalis said. This is really a great time for the community to come together and support our students in this way. 

Sasha Minjarez may be reached at [email protected]