New microgrants could help Fort Lewis College students stay in school and graduate by covering emergency expenses, such as car repairs and medical care.
The Skyhawk Emergency Grant funding will become available to students in the fall and could be disbursed within 48 hours to those who are in financial need, according to a news release.
“We want to have as many opportunities and avenues that we could possibly create to make sure life doesn’t get in the way of an education,” said Mark Jastorff, FLC’s vice president for advancement.
FLC President Tom Stritikus had the idea for the grants to help students stay in school and graduate, Jastorff said.
The college started a similar microgrant program in the fall, called the Skyhawk Persistence Grant, to help students pay off student fees, such as library fines, which, anecdotally, has shown success, he said. Fees must be paid down to a certain amount to allow students to register for classes.
The first grants to cover fees were distributed in December. Twenty-three students received funding in amounts between $100 and $700 to cover their fees, according to the college.
The requests for assistance are vetted carefully to ensure students have a true financial need, Jastorff said.
The amount students receive is determined on a case-by-case basis, said Lauren Savage, a spokeswoman for the school.
The college could waive fees, but if it did, money would have to be taken away from other things, Jastorff said. The donor program to cover fees helps students in a direct way and keeps the school financially whole, he said.
Walter Dear, a longtime donor to FLC, gifted $100,000 to the Skyhawk Persistence Grant and Skyhawk Emergency Grant. The school has the flexibility to use the funding as needed for both grant programs, Jastorff said.
“There’s more than just tuition in college expenses; there are other costs associated with being a student,” Dear said in a news release. “With this grant, Fort Lewis College makes the difference for students.”