Support The Access Fund: Emergency Resources for Students

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The Access Fund helps to support students’ emergency expenses not covered through financial aid or other university resources. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Cornell’s rapid transition to a virtual learning environment, travel, technology and other related costs are mounting for our students.

Student & Campus Life has seen an increase from an average of 35 Access Grant applications per month, to more than 1,000 in under two weeks.

The need has been extraordinary these past two weeks to provide critical support for our students who need it most. Below are examples of students’ current emergency needs that we’ve provided to date:

  • Over 470 undergraduate and over 354 graduate and professional students have received aid through the Access Fund
  • 120 students received new laptops shipped directly to their homes
  • Over 400 students were able to travel home to locations ranging from Florida, California, and Texas, to China, Kenya, Turkey, Ghana, and Hawaii just to name a few
  • Over 30 students received support for medical or dental services
  • Students were provided transportation to travel over 100,000 miles by bus, plane and rental car

As we continue to support our students through this pandemic and beyond, the following resources will be provided through the Access Fund: emergency travel as needed, money for graduate student groceries, and technical support items such as cameras and supplemental materials for classes to ensure continuity of education. Going forward, grants will also be available to continue to support their basic needs as well as limited support for transformative experiences (i.e. graduate school test or application fee, registration fee or travel to attend a conference, service project, or employment/internship interviews, etc.).

Funding priority will be given based on the level of hardship and the student’s overall financial need. Depending on the situation, students may be referred to additional resources including financial aid to explore options, including loans.

While the full impact of this pandemic is still unknown, we can say for certain that no matter how much is given, it will be used, greatly appreciated and is very much needed to help our students get through this crisis.

For questions regarding how you can support the Access Fund, please contact Valerie Oswald, Director of Advancement for Student & Campus Life.

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