Imagine you are a young student in a single parent household working very hard in your job and very hard in your community college courses with support from resources you need to succeed: physical access to classes and instructors on campus; access to the internet and laptops on campus; access to the library and textbooks and other study materials critical to your coursework; and for some, access to food pantries on campus.
Now imagine those resources are suddenly gone.
What would you do? How would you continue your classes? Could you even think of continuing your coursework if you lost your job?
That is life in a deadly pandemic, and that is the reality for too many NOVA students like Lima, a pre-nursing student who lost access to campus resources that were crucial to her success in school like the internet and the library. At the same time, she lost access to reliable work and the income that comes with it. Desperate to keep up, Lima attempts to attend classes remotely by connecting her cell phone to unreliable hot spots that often fail to provide the internet connection required for success.
Lima is not alone.
Many NOVA students face seemingly insurmountable financial obstacles to achieving their dream of higher education. Before the pandemic, 49% of NOVA students surveyed said they had experienced food insecurity, housing insecurity or homelessness in the previous year. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the income of many of the most financially at-risk students has diminished or even disappeared. Students receiving emergency grants from the Foundation so far have reported needing the support for much more than internet access and laptops. They need these emergency grants for food, medicine, and housing.
Because of the generosity of donors like you, the Foundation has distributed over $742,000 in emergency aid directly to NOVA students since the pandemic started, including 1,479 emergency cash grants of $500 each and over 60 grocery cards with a value of $40 each to support students reporting food insecurity. In addition, the Foundation has approved the distribution of 105 laptops for students to continue their education and is working to secure more resources to assist more students in need during this global crisis. With an enrollment of more than 75,000 credit and workforce students across our six NOVA campuses, the need for community support is urgent, now and in 2021.
Your donation will help more students like Lima who are in need of emergency aid and tuition assistance to complete their education and training. Together, we can assure that NOVA students continue their educational journey and achieve their professional goals. An investment empowering a NOVA student is not just an investment in that student; it is an investment in our community.
Click here to donate to our annual appeal today.