Emergency funding makes a difference to IU students

A student with brown hair in a ponytail, and wearing a red Indiana T-shirt and a light-blue face mask, walks through the Bloomington campus.
Supporting student emergency funds is just one way the IU community is showing its “never daunted” spirit. Photo by James Brosher, IU Studios.

“Many, many, many talented students come to school and face things that they didn’t expect they were going to face,” said IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel. “If you leave school, you may not be back.”

More than 700 students drop out of IU each year because of a sudden financial hardship. (That figure comes from the time before the COVID-19 pandemic.) Countless others struggle in the face of unexpected shortfalls.

To be able to respond to the immediate needs of students—on any IU campus—who find themselves struggling with a sudden financial crisis, IU established the Indiana University Student Emergency Assistance Fund in April 2020.

Whether it’s support like $50 for food, $125 for a utility bill, or $300 for a plane ticket, emergency funding can make a big difference for students.

When the pandemic hit, requests for emergency funding increased

A single dad and student at IU Kokomo found himself worrying about his future when the pandemic hit.

“The restaurant I worked at closed, my daughter’s school closed, and my classes were all moved online,” he said.

While he waited nearly a month to receive unemployment relief, he received an almost-instant response from IU Kokomo, which granted him enough money to pay for two months of Wi-Fi.

“The crisis fund helped me not worry about how I would complete my studies, how my daughter would perform e-learning, or how I would keep the baby monitor hooked up in my youngest’s room. I am grateful for this resource.”

Another student at IU Kokomo needed help with bills and necessities—like buying food for her son, who was suddenly home round-the-clock when the pandemic forced schools to send students home.

“The assistance was very helpful with survival until we were sent the government stimulus,” the IU Kokomo student said. “It was amazing that this sort of help was available in such a strange time! I don’t know what we would have done without it!”

“Your donations mean everything in times of crisis”

Jadah Cunningham, a woman with light-brown skin and curly hair in a ponytail on top of her head, smiles and holds a whiteboard on which she has written "Thank you, Jadah.”
Jadah Cunningham was in the middle of mid-terms, and just eight days away from leaving for a professional conference in Phoenix, when her car was broken into and her backpack stolen. Emergency funding helped her get through that tough time. Read Jadah’s story. Photo courtesy O’Neill School at IUPUI.

IUPUI student Jadah Cunningham got emergency funding after someone broke into her car and stole her backpack, purse, and other items.

“My teachers were understanding and gave me extensions on my assignments, but I had to figure out fixing my car window, which was destroyed, and replacing everything that was stolen.”

Cunningham said emergency funding from IU helped alleviate some of the stress of the situation.

“You’re helping students like myself through unforeseen financial circumstances that can make life way harder,” Cunningham said. “Your donations mean everything in times of crisis.”

More than 26,000 students have applied for special assistance in 2020, and more are in need. As the pandemic continues affecting us all in unforeseen ways, emergency funding will remain a priority.


Support IU students in financial crisis

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Gifts will be used to provide emergency financial assistance for students on any Indiana University campus who have encountered unforeseen financial hardships that would prohibit them from pursuing their education without additional financial support.

Written By
Andrea Alumbaugh
A native Hoosier, Andrea Alumbaugh is a graduate of IU (BAJ’08) and a senior writer at the IU Foundation.