Dartmouth Establishes Emergency Relief Fund for Students

Funds support undergraduates of limited means dealing with pandemic-related expenses.

Dartmouth has established an emergency fund to help students experiencing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is an opportunity for the Dartmouth community to assist students facing difficult circumstances during this ongoing health crisis.

The Emergency Student Relief Fund will provide support to undergraduates of limited financial means who are dealing with unexpected pandemic-related expenses not covered by Dartmouth's financial aid packages.

"Over the last two weeks, Dartmouth has stepped in to support the cost of travel and other emergency expenses for some of our students," says Dean of the College Kathryn Lively. "We are extremely grateful for the generosity of members of our community who are able to help us help students."

On March 12, Dartmouth officials sent students home and planned to conduct the first half of the term remotely. Five days later, as the pandemic worsened and colleges and universities began to move all of their courses online, Dartmouth announced that the entire spring term would be conducted remotely. Classes begin on Monday.

Most students have returned home, although some were unable to, and continue to live on campus. Having to leave campus abruptly and to take classes online from home is causing a financial hardship for some students. Says Lively, "Many hundreds of students have sought help."

One of the most pressing goals of The Call to Lead fundraising campaign has been to triple the amount of funding available each year to offset the cost of student emergencies, including help with medical and other health care expenses, providing professional attire for interviews, graduate test-preparation fees, and other necessities. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for emergency funding more urgent than ever.

Through this initiative, Dartmouth intends to raise $500,000 for critical needs and establish a $4.5 million endowment to respond to individual needs now and in the years to come.

"The escalating public health crisis we are all facing serves to emphasize the vulnerabilities of needy students in our community," says Lively. "Now, and in the future, these needs are likely to continue. We are thankful that we will have these resources to address them."

Dartmouth Trustee Caroline Kerr '05, who chairs the board's Student Affairs Committee, says alumni are reaching out and asking how they can support students during this difficult time.

"We're all part of the Dartmouth family. Alumni and students really see Dartmouth that way—as an extension of our own families," says Kerr. "I have never seen a community rise to a challenge the way we do. The notion of one Dartmouth and one family is stronger than ever."

Gifts to the student relief fund can be made online.

For the latest information on Dartmouth's response to the pandemic, including visit the COVID-19 website.