The University of Houston has relaunched its emergency fund to assist students facing unexpected financial hardships due to COVID-19. The Cougar Emergency Fund is designed to offer as much as $1,500 in support to eligible students for school-related costs to keep them enrolled and on track despite financial hardship caused by the pandemic.
With classes being delivered online through the summer, some students are struggling with technology needs such as access to Wi-Fi and new software requirements, while others have lost income from work stoppages. UH hopes to raise $500,000, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the UH Foundation and the James Wade Rockwell Fund.
“Many of our students are struggling during this unprecedented public health crisis, yet I’m inspired by their collective resilience and determination as we overcome these obstacles together,” said Renu Khator, University of Houston president. “Much of the financial fallout is beyond anyone’s control, and I’m hopeful money from the Cougar Emergency Fund will enable our students to address some of their financial need so they may continue their studies."
The Cougar Emergency Fund may help cover expenses such as:
- Costs related to loss of wages (past due utilities, unpaid rent, childcare)
- Medical expenses
- Housing (deposits, unexpected moving expenses and emergency lodging)
- Utilities (application, initiation and deposit fees)
- Technology (internet costs, increased data needs, software)
- Tuition assistance (including summer sessions)
- Course materials (textbooks and other required materials)
Eligible students include those currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate courses who are in good standing, with priority given to those enrolled full time. The fund is administered through the UH Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
“While I’m proud to see how our students are adapting to this new normal of social distancing and online classes, we are sympathetic to their financial struggles and remain committed to providing the necessary support, financial or otherwise, to see them through,” said Richard Walker, UH vice president for student affairs and enrollment services.
The Cougar Emergency Fund is supported by private donations and fundraising efforts are underway. All gifts made to the fund will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000 by a new matching fund sponsored by the UH Foundation and James Wade Rockwell Fund, a private foundation seeking to promote positive community change in the Greater Houston area. Donations to the Cougar Emergency Fund are tax deductible.
“I am deeply touched by the number of alumni and University friends who have already reached out asking to help. Our students are our top priority and the support we receive will help them get back on their feet quickly during these uncertain times,” said Eloise Brice, vice president for university advancement.
For more information on the Cougar Emergency Fund, click here.