Emergency grant to help students during COVID-19

Students must have a family contribution of or less than $10,000 per year to qualify for grant

Project+director+for+Crimson+Community+Grants+Kelly+Demand%2C+center%2C+said+there+is+no+deadline+to+apply+for+aid+but+encourages+students+to+apply+when+they+have+need.

COURTESY OF KELLY DEMAND

Project director for Crimson Community Grants Kelly Demand, center, said there is no deadline to apply for aid but encourages students to apply when they have need.

ANGELICA RELENTE, Evergreen reporter

WSU students who are facing a financial emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic can receive additional funding through the Crimson Community Grants.

“Our definition of ‘emergency’ is really any unexpected thing that happens to them that makes it so that they may not be able to continue in their education,” said Kelly Demand, project director for Crimson Community Grants.

In order to be eligible for the grant undergraduate and graduate students must be Washington state residents and have an expected family contribution of or below $10,000, according to the Crimson Community Grants website. Students can receive aid between $200 to $1,000.

Demand said there is no deadline to apply, but she advises students to apply as soon as they need the extra funding. The grant was previously exclusive for Pell-eligible undergraduate students only.

“We recognize that there’s students being laid off, there’s students that don’t have access to internet or computers to be able to complete their schooling,” she said. “We just want to be able to provide emergency funding to them so they can be successful.”

Courtney Sheldon, peer adviser for Crimson Community Grants, said they determine recipients on a first-come, first-serve basis but it also depends on a student’s situation. Their priority at the moment is technology because not a lot of students have a computer or access to the internet.

One of the most common reasons students apply for the grant is to pay for rent, Sheldon said.

“A lot of students get that really big refund check [at the] beginning of the semester and then they spend more of it than they expected,” Sheldon said. “By the end of the semester, they’re in a place where they can’t pay their rent. That’s really stressful on top of finals.”

Demand said they have been providing emergency grants since fall 2018. This year, BECU provided them five years’ worth of funding. This allowed them to provide extra emergency funding at this time of the year. WSU and other private donors also help fund the grant.

Sheldon said when they first created the idea for the grant, they wanted to find a way to help students who are facing financial hardships. That way, students could stay on campus and stay enrolled in the university. 

“The nice thing is … even though we’ve been doing this long before the COVID-19 pandemic, our funding partners at BECU — we’re really grateful for them,” Demand said.