Starting this semester, SUNY Oneonta will provide emergency aid to students experiencing unforeseen financial hardships or emergency situations under a new pilot program aimed at keeping more students on track toward graduation.
SUNY Oneonta is one of seven SUNY campuses participating in the program, which is supported by more than $600,000 in donations from the Gerstner Family Foundation and the Heckscher Foundation for Children.
“SUNY recognizes that students are not impervious to crises and we want to do all we can do to support students when a situation arises that will have a lasting impact on their ability to complete college,” said State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “An emergency aid program at SUNY New Paltz recently awarded funds to 100 students, and 87 percent of them have returned to campus and are on track to finishing their degree. Taking success like that to scale across our 64 campuses can be a real game-changer for SUNY students. We are so thankful to the Gerstner Family Foundation and the Heckscher Foundation for Children for starting us on this path.”
Emergency assistance will be given to help students facing an unforeseen event or an unexpected need for aid such as homelessness or threat of eviction, medical emergency, natural disaster, domestic violence, theft and loss of employment. Examples of eligible expenses include rent, utilities, clothing, furniture, medical expenses, back-up child care, back-up transportation, and replacement of stolen items needed for school.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to help our students complete their degrees, and this program will offer a safety net for students facing unforeseen financial challenges that might otherwise force them to leave school,” said Franklin Chambers, SUNY Oneonta vice president for Student Development.
The Gerstner Family Foundation and the Heckscher Foundation for Children awarded a grant in the amount of $82,500 to the SUNY Oneonta Foundation to launch the new Student Emergency Fund program.
“We were thrilled to be invited to apply for these funds,” said Paul Adamo, vice president of Advancement at SUNY Oneonta and executive director of the college Foundation. “Supporting affordable access to high-quality academic experiences is part of the Foundation’s mission, and we look forward to partnering with the SUNY Impact Foundation on this important program.”
To be eligible to apply for an emergency grant, a SUNY Oneonta student must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree, enrolled in at least six credits, have a grade-point average of at least 2.0 and be in good standing with the college.
The SUNY Impact Foundation will administer the program, collect data and study the effects of the emergency funding.
The other SUNY campuses participating in the pilot program are: University at Albany, University at Buffalo, SUNY Buffalo State, Cayuga Community College, Dutchess Community College and SUNY Orange.