Recent study shows nearly a quarter are struggling financially
Despite previous efforts to replenish emergency funds for students, demand is outweighing availability. A recent survey of more than 1,000 UMKC students found that nearly one-fourth of them are struggling financially.
Many do not have the money they need to buy materials for their courses. To respond to this need, an anonymous donor has committed matching #RooRelief funds to any gift made to the Student Emergency Fund and the Kangaroo Food Pantry.
In addition to being unable to meet their financial obligations, many students have gaps in food security. The Kangaroo Food Pantry reports significant increases in demand over last year.
With the escalating ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on job availability and housing, many students at UMKC face unprecedented economic challenges. Last Spring the UMKC Foundation established the Student Emergency Fund to help students manage these shortfalls in order to keep them in school and physically and mentally healthy. These funds helped to keep students in school and meet their basic needs.
“I cannot tell you how much this will help me and my three small children. It was a stretch going back to school as a single mom, but I knew if I didn’t we would be caught in this cycle of poverty forever. I want better for my children. With your gift, I am now able to pay for the internet we never had. This was much needed not only to help me with my school work, but it was also a godsend for my children during their homeschooling. I am also able to get caught up on our utility bills, which is a blessing! I hope to do the same for others when I am able to pay it forward. Thank you again.” – UMKC Emergency Fund recipient
Despite the initial overwhelmingly positive response to the Student Emergency Fund, the demand has exceeded resources. Since the beginning of the semester, UMKC has had to place dozens of student applications on hold because funds are no longer available.
“Our students’ well-being is always our top concern,” UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren said. “We are doing our best to help them meet these challenges. In the current environment, emergency funds are critical to keeping our students healthy and on track for graduation and future success.”
“In a time where things are not what they used to be, the extending hand of giving is almost always an apprehensive gesture given the nature of what the future may entail. It is with that thought in mind that I am even more appreciative of your gift. Thank you for being a blessing to me, words simply cannot express how I am feeling. A little goes a long way – and I know that in the same way I was blessed with this small gift, my plans for my future will work out just fine,” – UMKC Emergency Fund recipient
UMKC Foundation president Lisa Baronio considers these funds more than a short-term safety net.
“At UMKC we view our students, faculty and staff as family,” Baronio said. “We are grateful for the response to the Student Emergency Fund we had last spring as it made a difference for so many students. Unfortunately – rather than improving – students’ situations are in many cases becoming worse. We are so fortunate that we have a donor who has offered a challenge match, as they are as committed to the health of our students and our community as we are. With this match, even small donations become significant.”