Any student registered in the winter or summer semester eligible
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
Douglas College has created an emergency fund for students facing financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis.
“This is an unprecedented situation, one that creates financial challenges for many of our students,” said President of Douglas College Dr. Kathy Denton via an online press release announcing the fund.
The emergency fund totals over $600,000 and was made possible by contributions from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Douglas Students Union (DSU), the College’s Foundation and Alumni Relations, and Douglas International.
“Students and their families are in a time of financial insecurity like we have never seen before,” said Tanysha Klassen, Douglas College graduate and Chairperson of the BC Federation of Students. “This investment in emergency funds will help to ensure rent can be paid and food can be on the table during these troubling times.”
The announcement of the Douglas emergency fund comes a day after Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training revealed the province would distribute $3.5 million of emergency assistance among the 25 public post-secondary institutions to aid domestic BC students experiencing financial hardship.
“We heard from students who are facing extremely difficult situations, and we [moved] quickly to ensure they have access to immediate financial relief,” stated Mark during the press conference announcing the ministry’s investment.
Although the Ministerial announcement heralded emergency relief for students, only domestic students were the intended target of the new investment. Minister Mark referenced that the ministry was working with public post-secondary institutions to find solutions for international and out-of-province students.
However, the Douglas emergency fund is open to all.
How to access the Douglas emergency fund
Domestic and international students registered in the winter or summer semester are eligible for short-term financial relief via the emergency fund. Students requiring access to the emergency fund can email a student success advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org to review their individual need.
There were no details provided as to what information should be provided in the initial email nor the criteria used to review a student’s need.
The college hopes that students in need can receive their fund allocation within two weeks via the Office of the Registrar.
“Students are facing uncertainty and increased financial difficulties as job losses continue,” said Mitchel Gamayo, Director of External Relations of the Douglas Students’ Union. “We hope this [fund] will help alleviate some of the anxiety and stress students are feeling in this uncertain time.”
More money soon?
Additionally, the college aims to increase the amount available to Douglas students during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Leanne Poon, Executive Director of the Douglas College Foundation, the plan is to fundraise within the community to bring the total amount of the emergency fund to $1 million.