Student feels wave of financial hardship amid pandemic – The Daily Evergreen
Parents of WSU seniors quit their jobs due to high risk of COVID-19; a student left with a bill for $ 4,000 to pay for his studies
A WSU elder relied on a Pell grant to cover part of her tuition, as in previous years. However, when she reviewed her financial aid program this semester, she still had a bill for $ 4,000 to pay.
In a panic, Khadijah Butler filled out a special circumstance appeal online through the WSU student financial services office. He was rejected because his mother’s and father’s incomes were higher in 2020 than in 2019, even though they have both been unemployed for months.
“I always get emails about how the school supports us,” said Butler, an English pre-law major at the WSU. “I just wish we had real resources. I feel like everything is so topical.
Butler’s mother, DeGina Granderson, worked for the Las Vegas Department of Health and Human Services as the operator of the domestic violence hotline. Granderson said she was in constant contact with people.
Granderson said she had no choice but to quit in November because her autoimmune disease, lupus, put her at high risk for COVID-19.
Butler said his father, Leslie Butler Sr., worked as a mover where he walked in and out of clients’ homes. Leslie, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and in the high risk category, also quit her job in the fall.
Butler said she returned home to Las Vegas in mid-spring to help her mother run errands so her mother could avoid possible exposure to COVID-19. While her father was still working, she helped take care of her 2 year old sister.
“Khadijah can always come home,” Granderson said. “I’m worried about her education because it’s really important to her.
Butler transferred to WSU from Portland State University his freshman year. She returned to Portland this spring and resumed her WSU registrations after a one-semester hiatus.
To support himself, Butler feeds a family part-time. She said she logs into Zoom for class while making sure the two children under 3 are safe.
Then, when she gets home, she reviews the recordings before starting homework or reading, Butler said.
“It’s like a double soak,” she said.
After reviewing some of her options with a financial aid advisor, Butler said she would most likely look for a private loan to cover tuition.
“It’s hard to drop this bill all at once,” she said.
For students struggling to afford their tuition, the WSU Office of Academic Engagement and the Student Financial Services Office offer a variety of resources, including money management courses, emergency grants, and a program. savings.
Kelly Demand, director of college affordability programs at WSU, said state students eligible for Pell Grants can participate in a matching savings program as part of the Matters of cougar money.
Participants receive financial education on budgeting and credit, while saving $ 1,000 of their own money within six months to a year, Demand said. After completing financial education, WSU equates the savings by 400 percent to go towards tuition fees.
However, out-of-state students are often ineligible for these programs due to limited funding requirements, Demand said.
“This is where it gets a little more complicated,” she said. “Unfortunately, due to the type of funding we receive, we can only help students in the state.”
Crimson Community Grants began in the fall of 2018 and provides support to all students facing financial hardship. Aid awards between $ 200 and $ 1,000 per student, Demand said.
The program awarded more than $ 500,000, but funding dried up in the fall. Demand said it anticipates the possibility of providing more money in July when funding for the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplementary Appropriations Act is dispersed.
In December, others CARES Law funds were enacted to provide approximately $ 22.7 billion nationwide for higher education. However, WSU has yet to receive funding from the law.
“We are focused on meeting the educational needs of financially struggling students,” Demand said. “Whether it helps them pay for overdue tuition or help with books and technology. Basically, the items they need to be successful in their students.