After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, it became clear that the disruptions caused in classrooms and overall student learning were more than an inconvenience. The effects of lock-downs and social distancing bled into loss of jobs, or conversely, increasing demands. As the pandemic deepened, it brought on additional stresses for students who are also parents or caregivers and forced tough decisions about how one’s studies and aspirations could continue under increasing strain.
The Elgin Community College Foundation quickly determined that a solution was needed to assist students at risk of not continuing their educations or coursework due to financial concerns. The answer was the Emergency Student Relief Fund, now known as the Student Success Fund (SSF), which raised and distributed more than $52,000 this past spring. With a goal to raise a total of $100,000, which was successfully surpassed on October 17 during the virtual gala, the fund is wholly dedicated to supporting students in need.
Many times, helping a student overcome obstacles amounts to less than $500. “That’s a worthwhile investment in someone’s future,” said Executive Director of Institutional Advancement and ECC Foundation David Davin. “We have seen the long-term need for solutions to short-term financial problems. After seeing the relief we were able to provide students the past several months, we strive to continue supporting the ECC students throughout the ongoing pandemic,” said Davin.
The fund successfully helped more than 65 students continue their education during the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, assisting them with financial support for tuition, books, technology access, and even ancillary support for rent, food, health care, and child care. The ECC Foundation is committed to providing ongoing financial support so that any students who need assistance can accomplish their educational and career goals, despite increased adversity and economic hardships. Along with support from individuals, organizations such as the Motorola Solutions Foundation and the Union Pacific Foundation stepped in to assist in ECC’s efforts to ensure that all students have what they need to succeed.
For students like Bryan Arredondo, of Elgin, the Student Success Fund meant he could finish the spring semester. When his mother was laid off from her job in April, the money Arredondo had set aside for tuition was needed to help cover rent for his family. The assistance he received from the SSF allowed him to continue his studies, ultimately leading to securing an internship, that led to a job as a part-time design and project coordinator and will transition into a full-time position when he completes his degree.
There are many others with stories similar to Arredondo’s who now, in the words of ECC President Dr. David Sam, are able to “complete to compete.”
“We’re not done yet!” added Davin. “Our goal is to have the means to support any ECC student who needs help because we know that when we invest in their success, every aspect of our community benefits.”
If you would like to learn more about the Student Success Fund, or make a donation, visit elgin.edu/studentsuccess.
Read the entire Fall 2020 IMPACT Magazine