WSU awards $500k to help students through pandemic

SPOKANE, Wash.– A Washington State University emergency relief fund has awarded half a million dollars to help low-income students in Washington make ends meet during the pandemic.

The Crimson Community Grant Fund (CCG) saw a record number of applicants last spring, during the height of Governor Jay Inslee’s stay home order, according to WSU Office of Academic Engagement Executive Director Michael Highfill.

Highfill said the grant was founded in 2017 to help low income students. The awards range between $200 and $1,000 dollars. They’re designed to act as short-term emergency relief so students can focus less on unexpected financial issues and more on school.

Highfill said usually 20 to 40 students apply for the program each month. This year was a different story.

“From mid March to April, we saw 1,600 applications,” Highfill said.

They award as much money as they can, but the program can only withstand what donors provide. WSU matches those donations, according to Highfill.

Mystique Demyers is a WSU student who serves as a peer mentor for CCG. She’s heard many stories from each student about why they need help. For many, they don’t have financial assistance from family. Balancing tuition costs with other bills can be tough.

“Aside from that tuition, you still have to pay rent. You have to pay for groceries. You have to make car payments, insurance payments, health insurance,” Demyers said.

In a thank you letter shared with donors in April, a second-year PhD Sociology student at WSU said the donations made it possible for him to continue his coursework.

“With your generosity, I will be able to continue my research from home. And I will be able to avoid risking my life in the near future, even after the campus reopens,” Azdren Coma wrote.

Applications are once again being accepted for CCG. Apply here.

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