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emergency funding

Student Emergency Funding

In an extraordinary time, helping Drexel students stay the course

At the end of March, a newly unemployed organization management student at the LeBow College of Business discovered that he couldn’t cover some basic expenses. A design & merchandising major at the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design didn’t have the resources to restock even a small “dorm” refrigerator. At the College of Nursing and Health Professions, a future behavioral health counselor needed to move off campus and study remotely but couldn’t afford to travel home or find a new place to live. As the effects of the pandemic unfolded, stories such as these became common throughout Drexel – and in campuses across Philadelphia and around the country.

Owing to the generosity of alumni and friends, the University was able to quickly provide financial support – beyond financial aid and scholarship funding already provided – to help students meet a variety of basic needs, focus on their courses and co-ops and ensure that seniors who were in the final months of completing a degree would be able to graduate.

The generosity of donors who helped me and many others really embodies what it means to be a Dragon.

During the past academic year, 624 donors gave more than $251,296 to funds that are given directly to Drexel students to help them navigate the challenges of the pandemic. These include the Student Emergency Fund, which provides one-time financial support to students during an emergency, and Operation Graduation, which provides support to juniors and seniors facing unexpected financial circumstances that might prevent them from completing their degree.

In late June, 24 Hours of Impact – Drexel’s day of giving – highlighted student success, and collectively the emergency funds were among the most supported, raising more than $70,000 to help students.

For many, Drexel’s emergency funding for students was the only place they could turn, as their own families had lost income and savings during the pandemic. “I was rather devastated when my research internship was cancelled,” says Tony Truong ’20, who is pursuing an MS in chemical engineering at Drexel. “Thanks to the emergency fund, I was able to pay for my school costs, which subsequently enabled me to find a job as a research assistant.”

Salamata Bah '24
Salamata Bah '24

“By late April, it was Ramadan and things got tough with trying to balance online classes and financial struggles while fasting,” recalls Salamata Bah ’24, who just completed her freshman year as a STAR Scholar and computer science major in the College of Computing & Informatics. “I applied for the Student Emergency Fund, and it helped me manage some basic needs. Thanks to the donors’ support, I achieved my goal of getting straight A’s during my spring term.”  

Saloni Basukala, MPH '21
Saloni Basukala, MPH '21

For international students, the pandemic added to the challenges of moving to the U.S. to study. “When I lost my part-time employment, my family – who reside in Nepal – was unable to support me financially as they had also been affected by the pandemic,” says Saloni Basukala ’21, a master of public health (MPH) candidate in epidemiology and biostatistics at the Dornsife School of Public Health. “The Student Emergency Fund was a tremendous support to me. I am extremely thankful to the donors who thought of us in this critical time and provided us with not only financial support but also hope that everything will be alright.”

Michael Passarella '21
Michael Passarella '21

At least one potential future Dragon will benefit from the Student Emergency Fund. “After the country shut down, my wife and I both lost our jobs,” says Michael Passarella ’21, who is pursuing a BS in construction management at the College of Engineering. “We have a child on the way. Fortunately, I received some financial assistance to help pay for needed essentials for the newborn baby.”

Regarding the gift which helped him continue his undergraduate studies as a journalism major, Corey Weiner ’22 says, “The generosity of donors who helped me and many others really embodies what it means to be a Dragon.”

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