New Mexico State University students impacted by COVID-19 now have another means of funding available to them.
The Aggie Emergency Fund and the ASNMSU Emergency Fund are providing students with assistance to help ease financial hardships spawned by the pandemic.
The student senate passed the ASNMSU Emergency Funding Act on April 23, 2020. This bill establishes the emergency fund as “a financial resource for ASNMSU members to have access to relief funds during emergency situations in order to assist in the continuation of their education, which shall include, but not be limited to loss of employment, housing expense, food insecurity, and personal or family expenses (i.e. medical).”
Students in need of financial assistance may be more likely to abandon their education as 38% of college dropouts cite this as their main reason for leaving school.
ASNMSU president Mathew Madrid notes that the majority of requests for emergency funding come from sheer necessity.
“A lot of the requests that we’ve seen have been because of students losing their job or students needing to invest in technology as a result of COVID … “
“A lot of the requests that we’ve seen have been because of students losing their job or students needing to invest in technology as a result of COVID, so that way they can effectively complete instruction at home, or things like that. They’re backed up on rent, you know, normal stuff that affects not just low-income students, but potentially a whole breadth of folks throughout the student body,” Madrid said.
Students can apply for both the Aggie Emergency Fund, which is funded by the NMSU Foundation and individual donors, and the ASNMSU Emergency Fund with one application.
Melina Burnside, a student employee with Student Assistance Services, plays an integral role in the application process by interviewing students who have applied, while also making them aware of additional resources that may offer additional help.
“I meet with these students, and it’s like there’s such a huge need for financial assistance right now,” Burnside said. “There’s people that can’t make rent, there’s people who can’t buy groceries. So, a big part of what we do is like, if they’re unemployed, we send them employment resources. If they’re having trouble affording food, we make sure they’re aware of the Aggie Cupboard and the times that they’re open.”
After the initial interview process, students are then asked to fill out paperwork. From there, once the paperwork is filed and processed, students will receive their funding via direct deposit.
The Aggie Emergency Fund is currently accepting donations at the “Make a STATEment” website, NMSU’s official crowdsourcing platform.