Student Emergency Fund requests increase tenfold due to COVID-19

Austin Community College (ACC) is just shy of its goal to raise $300,000 for the Student Emergency Fund to help more students in crisis. Many ACC students struggled to meet their basic needs in the past year, and the COVID-19 outbreak has only exacerbated the struggle.

"Since our local shelter-in-place orders went into effect, we have seen a tenfold increase in the number of Student Emergency Fund requests we receive every day. Over 95 percent of the requests are a version of 'I lost my job and can't pay my bills,'" says Steven Christopher, associate vice president of Student Accessibility & Social Support Resources. "Each request, however, has a real person behind it with a personal story of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected them. It's hard to see our students struggle through what's already a very challenging time."

The Student Emergency Fund may be used to help students:

  • Make up for lost income
  • Pay tuition
  • Pay rent and utilities
  • Buy groceries
  • Access remote learning tools
  • Cover other necessary expenses

To support more students during the pandemic, the ACC Foundation increased its contribution to the SEF for a total of $150,000. The college is asking those who are in a position to help to give what they can to help match the donation for a total of $300,000.

As of April 16, a total of $287,989 has been raised.

"Our under-resourced students are often the ones who are most greatly impacted by loss of income or unexpected expenses," says Christopher. "Most students reach out to us for help paying their rent and utilities, or covering transportation expenses like a car repair, payment, or insurance."

To view the funding thermometer or make a donation, visit