SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With school, work and life in general in an upheaval, The Foundation for Santa Barbara City College has stepped in to help students facing uncertain financial times.
The Foundation launched the COVID-19 Student Emergency Grant Fund on March 30.
Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Green said, "the easiest thing to do is to drop out and say 'I will get back to it later'. So we wanted to do everything we could to keep students enrolled and focused on their education."
If a student was enrolled March 13th, when the fund became available March 30th, a simple form was all they had to fill out. If there were questions, a staff member would follow up.
"Within the first day we had nearly a thousand requests," said Green.
The bottom line as of this week was a distribution of, "$2-million dollars to 2300 students at Santa Barbara City College, " said Green.
The average grant size was $880-dollars. The applicants could request up to $1,000.
They received in in checks, direct deposit, Venmo, PayPal accounts or another method they requested. Some of the checks were personally delivered.
The one-time grants are aimed at covering essential items including, housing, food, child care, technology and internet access necessary for students to continue their education remotely.
"We knew that a huge proportion of those newly unemployed people were our students because it was the hourly workers at our restaurants, and the hospitality industry," said Green.
The Foundation is in place to cover books and tuition for local high school students to make the transition to college without a major financial burden.
Community college students are often at risk of not having those basic needs met. "To do anything on top of that including pay for your education can be a deal breaker," said Green.
He says the program at SBCC was one of the fastest response funds in the country because donations for the on going SBCC Promise Program and emergency requests were already in place.
The Foundation released a statement that included messages from two students who received emergency grants:
“I am a first-generation, low-income student who has been financially independent since I was 17 years old. I was working three jobs while taking organic chemistry and physics classes at SBCC. Due to the Coronavirus I lost two of those jobs, which were my main source of income. I have no idea when I'll be able to return to work, and currently have no income. Thank you! This is an amazing resource the SBCC Foundation is offering to students and I am eternally grateful.” – J. Tellez
“I am so relieved to have a source of income this month. I have already used some of the money to purchase groceries and pay my bills. The rest will be put toward my rent this month. I feel so honored and appreciative to all the donors who have come together to support our community during this tough time. This money has not only helped me financially, but emotionally, as it has taken a huge load off of my shoulders. With less stress, I am better able to focus on my studies, and for that I am endlessly thankful. Thank you so much for your help. It is my dream to one day return the favor by offering a helping hand to a college student in need.” – S. Cunningham
The campus says all instruction through the remainder of the spring semester, as well as both summer sessions, will be exclusively online.
The COVID-19 SBCC Student Emergency Grant program closed on Friday, April 24 in anticipation of the arrival of CARES Act funds.
For more information go to: Foundation for Santa Barbara City College
or the SBCC Promise Program