The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has added stress and unexpected expenses to many students’ lives. The Florida Polytechnic University Student Government Association (SGA) has created Phund-a-Phoenix, an emergency fund to help students during this time of uncertainty and financial burden.
“We understand that this is a very hard time for students and their families, and we wanted to find a way to help,” said SGA President Ryan Perez.
After COVID-19 forced the cancellation of all in-person events on campus and students shifted to remote instruction, SGA members decided to use their suddenly available event funds to benefit students right away.
The fund will award grants to students who are facing emergency-related expenses that may impede their academic progress. This may include money spent for unanticipated travel, replacement of medications, emergency childcare due to extended school closures, and additional technology requirements.
The SGA allocated $10,000 to launch the fund and can add another $10,000 if necessary, Perez said.
“With so many people struggling, we thought this would be the perfect way to help,” said Perez, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a concentration in advanced topics.
Phund-a-Phoenix is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are currently enrolled at the University. These students must be making satisfactory academic progress and be in good standing with the school.
Assistance is limited to $200 per student and does not need to be repaid. The grants may be considered taxable income and recipients should contact a tax professional for more information about their specific situation.
Perez said the emergency fund should be a relief to students who are unusually stressed as they complete remote coursework, lament canceled events like commencement, and worry about an uncertain job market.
“We really just wanted to do something that would take a little of that stress away,” he said.
Students must fill out an application to begin the process and disclose the reason for their need. Applications will be reviewed by a committee made up of financial aid and student affairs staff members. The fund is administered by the Office of Financial Aid.
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