Gerstner Family Foundation helps Westchester Community College establish new Emergency Aid Program
A generous recent grant of $25,000 from the Gerstner Family Foundation is helping Westchester Community College establish a new program in support of students most in need during critical situations.
The new Westchester Community College Foundation Emergency Aid Program is being established to assist students who have unforeseen financial hardships that occur during the academic year and endanger their continued enrollment. These hardships are generally financial situations that are immediate and severe in nature and cannot be remedied by Financial Aid, the Scholarship Office or the Benefits Access Center.
Emergency situations may include, but are not limited to homelessness or sudden loss of housing; fire; threat of eviction; overdue utility bills/turn-off notice; theft of computer, books, clothing or other essential belongings; automobile accident/repair; medical/dental emergencies; temporary loss of job or income; loss of childcare; victims of violence; and other such situations.
The fund does not cover college expenses, tuition, supplies, and is not intended to replace or supplement existing financial aid.
Full-time students in good academic standing who have proof of a financial hardship resulting from an emergency, accident, job or housing loss, health issue or other unexpected critical incident are eligible for immediate aid. Applications can be submitted any time during the fall and spring semesters, and will receive immediate attention. Due to the nature of these requests, the college is hoping for no more than a 72-hour turn-around time from application to check processing.
Approved grants will be sent from the Westchester Community College Foundation on behalf of the student directly to the provider of the emergency service, and do not have to be repaid. Students receiving aid will also receive financial counseling support from the college’s Benefits Access Center for the length of their attendance at the institution.
The Gerstner Family Foundation is committed to supporting biomedical research, providing access to excellence in education, and assisting individuals who have suffered a temporary setback and need a “helping hand” to get back on track. The Emergency Aid Program combines their latter two interests, and has led to the development of this new initiative.
In making this grant, Kara Klein, Executive Director of the Foundation, says “We are thrilled to be partnering with Westchester Community College as one of the sites for our new initiative providing emergency funds for students in need. We recognize the college as a critical resource in our community and look forward to hearing about its students’ successes.”
Of this grant Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President of Westchester Community College, says “There are many factors that impact a student’s ability to persist and succeed in college. At Westchester Community College, support for tuition alone is not enough to help all of our students. For some, their everyday needs such as transportation and even meals are not being met. Moreover, some have no room for financial emergencies. This can often be the proverbial ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back.’
It is our hope that this grant will allow us to ensure that these impediments to degree completion can be eradicated, giving our students their best chance for success.”
Westchester Community College provides accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community. We are committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning.