Research has shown that emergency assistance programs are linked to increased retention and completion of academic programs, which provides savings to the student, college, and our community. To be successful in the classroom, students need stable housing, food, healthcare, mental health services, access to technology, and childcare, and this grant would allow us to fill gaps that arise in community resources. Khondaker Haque, Professor of Economics, recognized these barriers and jumped into action. Professor Haque worked with ECTC leadership to make the first donation to develop a new ECTC Student Emergency Fund, which started serving students impacted by the pandemic in 2020.
“When I saw what my students were going through as they worked to continue their education, despite all the challenges of the coronavirus, I wanted to do whatever I could to help,” shared Haque. “They need all the encouragement we can give them right now. I hope others will donate to this fund so we can give students the resources they need for their education to remain a top priority.”
Approximately 1 in 5 ECTC students are first-generation, and 40% of our students are over the age of 25, making them especially susceptible to household financial challenges. These students are more likely to take courses on a part-time basis, which puts them at a higher risk of withdrawing due to non-academic reasons.
Because of our generous donors, 13 students received $6,050 in emergency grants in spring 2021. Of these students, four have already completed their degrees and eleven successfully completed the semester while maintaining an average 3.14 GPA. Eight students enrolled for summer classes and six are taking courses in fall 2021. We are encouraged by the progress these students have made despite challenges in their personal lives, and appreciate being able to support them in their time of need because of our donors’ support.
One student requested help paying for childcare while his wife worked full-time. He passed all 10 credits he was enrolled for in spring 2021 and is enrolled in fall courses.
“The Student Emergency Fund really impacted my life. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to continue school because of my financial situation. I am blessed to say that when I thought my dreams are gone, I was pointed in this direction to find the help I needed. If I hadn’t received the grant, I would have flunked out my first semester and still be working my way to where I am today. I am very grateful to everyone who has been a part of my journey. My dream is to build my own garage and start my own auto repair shop.
Another student sought help from the fund after having emergency surgery and facing a choice between paying tuition and medical bills. “These funds allowed me to start paying off my medical debt and prevented me from having to pick up extra hours at work, which would have reduced my ability to focus on my classes. Having more work would have slowed my academic progress and educational goals. This student is enrolled in fall classes and is majoring in business.
The Student Emergency Fund is supported entirely through donations and grants, including a 2021 award from United Way of Central Kentucky. We appreciate all our partners who have invested in the success of these students!