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Emergency Funds Helps New York Tech Students During Pandemic

July 27, 2020

On July 16, New York Institute of Technology’s student support team, led by Tiffani Blake, M.S., M.Ed., interim assistant provost for student engagement and development, hosted a webinar for alumni and emergency fund donors that showcased the impact the funds had on many of our students.

“As the first two weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold, it became apparent that there would be immediate and long-term effects on our students, and that they would need financial support to navigate unforeseen circumstances like the sudden loss of income,” said Blake. “Hardships like this, as we all know, jeopardize student’s ability to finish coursework.”

Over a two-week period in late March, the Student Emergency Fund was created as a way to assist students who have been impacted financially by unforeseen circumstances during a disaster or crisis. Just in time for the annual Big Give campaign and through contributions from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), individual donors, student governance groups, and academic departments, the fund was able to award more than $212,000 to 699 students from both New York campuses, the majority of whom are undergraduates.

“We are very fortunate to have so many dedicated alumni, faculty, and staff who have contributed to support our students during this difficult time. The generosity of the New York Tech community never ceases to amaze me,” said Patrick Minson, vice president for development and alumni relations.  

“The three main areas in which we saw students request assistance were food insecurity, homelessness [due to closing of student housing], and temporary financial support,” Zennabelle Sewell, associate dean of students, explained.

The program provides one-time assistance of up to $500 to New York City and Long Island campus students to address financial challenges that jeopardize their ability to stay in school.

“Thank you for your donations and your generosity,” stated Mary Pelkowski, interim dean of students. “To feel the support of the alumni, and of the community, was really great for our students.”

Similar funds were also established for the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine and for students attending the NYIT-Vancouver campus.

“As a university, we really came together. Our alumni, faculty, staff, and other community members made a big difference for our students. We are continuing to accept emergency funding in the coming months as we return to campus,” stated Victoria Greco, director of annual giving.

To learn more or to donate to the Student Emergency Fund, please visit https://alumni.nyit.edu/donate.