Students in financial trouble have been receiving money from Kent State’s Emergency Grant Fund, giving them a chance to succeed through the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund started in April when the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning. Over 20 million jobs were lost and the unemployment rate in America went up to 15%, the highest it has ever been.

“Because of the coronavirus, I applied for a ton of jobs, but I was worried I would not find one,” junior architecture major Carly Preattle said.

Kent State created the emergency fund — previously known as the Pay It Flash Forward Fund — to help students in need.

The fund combines a portion of the CARES Act relief and donations to the university. The CARES Act was part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, providing aid to institutions and families in need. Kent State received $19 million in relief, the fourth-highest amount in Ohio. Out of the $19 million, $9.5 million was put into the emergency fund.

“We are solely putting our fundraising efforts into the emergency fund,” said Leigh Greenfelder, the assistant vice president of advancement communications. “We understand that students are affected by this pandemic.”

Fundraising efforts have raised over $1 million for the fund. The fund was created to help students for the short term, but Greenfelder said the fund will live on forever. 

Students can apply for a grant from the Kent State website. The only requirements are enrollment in the fall semester and pursuit of a degree. The requests are supposed to be processed in 10-14 business days.

Out of the over 8,000 students that applied for the fund, over 6,000 students have received a grant. The grants have totaled over $9.5 million, covering the money given to them by the CARES Act.

One of the students that received their money was Preattle. She applied for $1,500 to cover her living expenses and a computer for her classes and received it two weeks after applying. 

The sheer number of students makes it tough for some to receive the money they need. One student who had issues is Nemet Alrawajfeh, a junior political science and sociology major. 

Alrawajfeh had applied for the fund earlier in the year and was given a few hundred dollars, but she needed more. She applied again and did not hear anything from Kent State for 21 days. She called the office and was told she could not be given money.

“The root of my frustration is the lack of transparency with the fund,” Alrawajfeh said. “I would have been happier if they just told me I was rejected earlier.” 

The university was asked to explain what happened.

“The student was not approved for the emergency grant in August because she had already received money from the emergency grant in May,” said Eric Mansfield, assistant vice president of content strategy and marketing.

Alrawajfeh is not the only student dealing with this issue. More students every day need money to get through the pandemic.  

Fundraising events such as Giving Tuesday will increase the number of students the school can give grants to, so Greenfelder said students should be patient and talk to their advisers about receiving money.

Ben Vrobel covers administration. Contact him at bvrobel@kent.edu.

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Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.

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