Humboldt State student Nina was able to stay on track to receive her HSU degree thanks to the Student Adversity Fund.
January 2020—Nicole, a Humboldt State University senior (whose name has been changed for privacy reasons), found herself struggling to afford a place to live and her grades began to suffer. But thanks to the support of The HSU Foundation’s Student Adversity Fund, she’s now on track to become the first in her family to receive a college degree.
“I overcame the odds, the statistics that students from lower income areas don’t, or won’t, make it due to their environment or not having the accessible resources at their fingertips,” she says.
In December, $50,000 was raised and with matching funds, a total of $100,000 will go towards the Student Adversity Fund. A matching grant greatly increased the potential impact the fund has for HSU students.
Established in April, the Student Adversity Fund provides emergency financial support for students who need financial assistance to stay in school. So far, the fund has supported 16 HSU students, with about $16,000.
Of the students who have received Student Adversity Funds, most have run out of financial aid and other sources of funding and are unable to pay for fees, tuition, and other necessities.
Peggy Metzger, Director of the Financial Aid Office, notes that some students need just $1,000 to complete their final semester before graduation. That money is often a financial bridge that students need to finish college.
Another student, Nina, was a student at Cuesta College who decided to attend HSU because it was the perfect place to study water systems. By the time she transferred to Humboldt, she had reached the unit cap for receiving enough financial aid in time to cover her costs.
Luckily, the Student Adversity Fund helped offset the remaining tuition costs for the semester, which will allow her to finish school in 2021, to earn her bachelor's degree in Environmental Science, and become the first person in her family to graduate from college. Nina hopes that after graduating from HSU, she will be able to work in a position to help ensure safe water quality.
Many donors have made gifts to support the Student Adversity Fund, including HSU Foundation board members Gary Blatnick, Kurt Fraese, Jenny Harris, Jennifer Keller, and Frank Whitlatch. Former board members Laura Fisher and Alisa Judge have made generous contributions, as well.
HSU Foundation board member Jenny Harris sees great value in what the Student Adversity Fund can provide HSU students. While the ability to double her gift with the matching challenge was one reason she chose to support the fund, she also recalls what it was like to be struggling in college, without a safety net to rely on.
To Jenny, providing students with a flexible safety net has far-reaching effects. “The fact that you go to school and get an education that broadens your mind makes you a better citizen in this world.”
Help keep HSU students in school through a gift to the Student Adversity Fund today.
This story was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated to reflect that fundraising goals have been met.