MiraCosta College students, whose financial challenges are worsening because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the economy, will soon share more than $5.5 million provided through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
While the first installment of more than $2.75 million will be arriving in the coming weeks, with cash grants going directly to students, MiraCosta College Foundation has been able to successfully raise funds to support student’s needs now.
The MiraCosta College Foundation launched a three-week fundraising campaign on March 24 to underwrite student emergency response kits. Each kit provides qualified students with a $500 credit toward a customized combination of food, shelter, and access to online learning tools, including computers when called for, based upon each student’s specific need.
During the campaign, which concluded on April 15, the Foundation provided more than 560 emergency kits and 350 computers to students in need. Community organizations like Agri Service, Alliance Engineering of CA, California Coast Credit Union, Computers 2 Kids, Gilead Sciences, Hertzman Foundation, Inc., Kite Pharma, Millipore Sigma, MiraCosta College Associated Student Government, NCAAWA, Nordson Corporation Foundation, Pride Resource Partners LLC, The Rotary Foundation and Rotary District 5340, Seth Sprague Foundation, and Stein Family Foundation, in addition to an exceptional response from faculty, staff, alumni, and community members with gifts ranging from $10 to $5,000, all stepped up to ensure MiraCosta College students had resources to continue their studies pending federal assistance.
The need is profound. More than 4,900 MiraCosta College students, for example, receive federal Pell Grants, which are reserved for those who demonstrate exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. An unknown number of other students have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay their rent.
“Everybody is hurting during these unprecedented times, but for students who were already struggling, these cash emergency grants literally mean the difference between dropping out of school or getting critical financial support that will help keep them in college and achieving their dreams,” said Michael Dear, MiraCosta College’s director of financial aid and scholarships. “This is an investment in our future.”
Cash amounts and eligibility are still being determined, but a priority will most likely be placed on those receiving Pell Grants, Dear said. Funds must be distributed within a year.
The recently approved CARES Act relief package provides $14.25 billion to institutions of higher education to respond to this crisis, and at least half of the funding that schools receive must go to students in the form of emergency cash grants to help them pay for housing, food, and other essentials.
“This crisis has been devastating for everyone, particularly students who have been kicked out of campus housing, can’t access meal plans, and lost jobs that help them make ends meet as they pursue a higher education,” said U.S. Congressional Representative Mike Levin. “This relief funding will provide a critical lifeline for local students and colleges, and I am glad that most of these dollars will go to students who need it most.”
Anyone interested in donating to the MiraCosta College Foundation to aid in student assistance can visit the Foundation’s website or contact Cynthia Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About MiraCosta College
The MiraCosta Community College District has served the coastal North San Diego County area for over 80 years. More than 21,000 credit students per semester in over 70 disciplines enroll in associate degrees, university transfer and workforce readiness certificate programs. The college also serves a wide spectrum of educational needs in the region ranging from programs for adult education, basic skills, and ESL to a California Community College pilot program offering the nation’s first baccalaureate degree in biomanufacturing. MiraCosta College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).