College Supports Students During Pandemic

With the help of generous donations from community members as well as federal funding, Clarkson College has helped distributed nearly $260,000 through the federal CARES Act Emergency Grant, Emergency Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Clarkson College Student Emergency Fund to support more than 330 students who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The College utilized its Student Emergency Fund as well as federal funding provided through the CARES Act Emergency Grant to assist individuals requesting emergency assistance during this time. The programs made it possible for individuals such as Shikyra Kriegel, who is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program option, to keep up with their living expenses.

Kriegel is a Patient Care Technician at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, and she supplements her income by working as a server at a local restaurant. At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, she was pulled from her regular unit to care for cruise ship passengers who were exposed to COVID-19 and under federal quarantine. As a result, she could no longer work at the restaurant, which severely limited her income.

“That cut my income to around 50% of my normal wage for around four months,” she says. “The stress of an unpredictable weekly schedule and loss of income made keeping up with my schoolwork a lot harder. I would try and work more to make up for lost income, but it just never equated without my second job.”

Clarkson College faculty and staff worked with Kriegel to provide her with financial resources through the Student Emergency Fund. “When the Student Emergency Fund was offered, I was able to catch up on my bills and put myself in a financially secure situation that did not require me to work past my limits to keep up with my living expenses,” she says.

Students directly affected by COVID-19 also had the opportunity to apply for the recently enacted federal CARES Act Emergency Grant that provides money to colleges and universities to distribute for emergency student grants. The purpose of the money is to provide financial assistance to students for specific expenses that are a direct result of the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus including food, housing, health care and childcare. This funding is separate from any additional financial aid students receive from Clarkson College. To be eligible to receive assistance, students must have been enrolled in at least one on-campus course during the spring 2020 semester and have a valid 2019-20 FAFSA on file with the Office of Financial Aid.

“Everyone here at Clarkson College reminded me multiple times that help is available if I am willing to accept it,” says Shikyra. “I would like to give a huge thank you to the donors of the Student Emergency Fund who provided some stability for me and other students during a time of such financial uncertainty. Their donations took a huge weight off my shoulders and allowed me to focus on school without worry of financial instability.”