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Emergency fund started for students

 

The fund will help students facing financial dilemmas that threaten their education

 

After reading the recent Voice article “Student Threatens Hunger Strike to Pay Tuition,” former Professor and Director of Libraries at The College of Wooster Damon Hickey started an emergency fund for students faced with unexpected financial difficulties. The Damon and Mary Hickey Emergency Fund will have an annual income, which will be used to assist students with unexpected financial emergencies that threaten the completion of their Wooster education.

After reading the article, which explained the specific, unavoidable and unexpected financial circumstances of several students whose particular circumstances were not covered by financial aid guidelines, Hickey contacted Wendy Barlow and the Women’s Advisory Board to see how he could personally help.

After much planning, the tuition-based Hickey Emergency Fund was created.

Hickey explained that he and his wife “hope [they] can make it possible for some students who aren’t eligible for any other form of financial aid but who find themselves in circumstances where they can’t continue at Wooster without help, can get it.”

The fund will be a project of the WAB, and Financial Aid will designate the appropriate recipients. For the spring semester Women’s Advisory Board has voted to make funds available from their treasury. Income from the Hickey Emergency Fund will be available starting next fall — the WAB is simply bridging the gap in the meantime. First priority for these funds will be given to seniors, second to juniors, third to sophomores and fourth to first-years. Initially, about $1,500 per year will be available, but pending other contributions, that amount could increase.

Several students have been working over the last semester to create such a fund or scholarship program through the WAB.

Sarah Kristeller ’14, one of the students who had been in contact with Wendy Barlow, and a student who has faced extenuating circumstances that were not covered by the college’s financial aid office, expressed her joy over the creation of this new fund.  “This is really exciting to me because there is a need for support systems for students who find themselves in dire straits financially. People come into unexpected financial troubles throughout college all the time and the formation of this kind of emergency fund provides support for students. It helps to take care of final tuition payments or book costs, but it also makes students who are stressed out by these situations feel like their academic goals are being supported.”

The fund is available to all students, who, after exhausting all available resources, cannot meet scholastic financial obligations due to financial situations beyond their own control and would not be able to return to Wooster without aid. Examples include students who pay for college independently but have to remain on their parent’s health plans, students who cannot find co-signers for loans, students experiencing unexpected medical costs or family lay offs, etc.

Students who are interested in this aid should contact the Financial Aid office. Anyone interested in contributing to this fund or raising funds to add to it should contact either Wendy Barlow or Rebecca Schmidt in the Development Office.

 

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