George Brown College has launched a relief fund for domestic and international students who are in “urgent financial need” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Student COVID-19 Relief Fund will bring short-term support for students coping with financial, food or housing security, income loss due to unemployment, and other “unexpected financial hardships that may have presented themselves.”
The relief fund currently stands at more than $850,000 – with proceeds coming from partnerships between the George Brown Student Association, George Brown Foundation, the college, as well as the Government of Ontario’s recent emergency investment in higher education to support student success.
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The aim is to increase the fund to $1 million, with the college encouraging online donations.
In order to apply for the fund, students must be enrolled in a full-time program for the Winter 2020 semester and must complete an application form that includes a budget declaration and a “brief narrative of how COVID-19 has impacted their financial situation.”
“This is an unprecedented situation, one that has created financial hardship for many in our community. We know that some students have lost their jobs, have no way to pay their rent, or even to purchase food,” Anne Sado, president of George Brown, said.
“We have launched this fund to help ease their hardships and alleviate some of their anxiety so they can focus on their education.”
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— George Brown College (@GBCollege) April 6, 2020
In addition to establishing the COVID-19 Relief Fund, George Brown donated food to Second Harvest, as well as personal protective equipment and supplies to several Toronto hospitals.
To help combat the issue of food access, the College’s Student Association has also established the Student Nutrition Access Program – an initiative that provides e-Gift cards to students who are experiencing financial hardships or food insecurity.
On March 31, the province distributed $25 million in additional funding to publicly-assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes to “help address each institution’s most pressing needs in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak such as deep cleaning, purchasing medical supplies or offering mental health supports.”
Ontario also temporarily deferred payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans with loan repayments subject to a six-month interest-free moratorium until September 30, 2020.
George Brown suspended in-person classes on March 14, offering classes online instead for students.