Eastern Oregon University > Alumni > Thousands awarded to students amid pandemic

Thousands awarded to students amid pandemic

Foundation, university cooperate to support students amid pandemic

Financial Aid Director Sandy Henry counsels a student in her office in 2018. Since the pandemic began, counselling appointments have taken place remotely.

July 28, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – By the end of June, Eastern Oregon University had awarded $307,745 from the federal CARES Act to support on-campus students as they adapted to remote learning for spring term. 

The university received $579,164 from the federal government to be disbursed directly to on-campus students to cover housing, food, healthcare, child care or unpaid unemployment benefits.  

As of June 30, 282 EOU students have received funding through the CARES Act in order to stay enrolled and on track to complete their degrees. The university’s Financial Aid Office planned ahead to ensure it would be able to continue distributing funds throughout the upcoming academic year as needed. 

In order to be eligible, students must be registered for EOU classes and have submitted a Federal Application for Financial Student Aid form (FAFSA). The legislation also requires that students be attending on-campus classes and that funds are not directly used for tuition costs.

Students who didn’t meet the criteria for federal CARES Act funding received support through the EOU Foundation’s Student Crisis Fund. When the pandemic hit this spring, EOU alumni and donors raised over $16,000 in a matter of weeks to help students stay in school. 

Australian student Samantha Blake lives in Baker City, and didn’t qualify for CARES Act support because she attends classes online. When her husband lost his job with the pandemic and unemployment payments were stalled, she turned to EOU to cover phone and internet costs. Private funds through the EOU Foundation kept her on track to graduate in June 2021.

“The Financial Aid Office told me about the help available,” she said. “We were so far behind on bills it was scary. For someone who didn’t qualify for assistance through other channels, I was so lucky [EOU Foundation donors] were willing to be generous. I’m so grateful for EOU and the donors that give us all support.”

More than $6,000 was distributed in spring term, and the EOU Foundation continues to assist students in need. In addition to the Student Crisis Fund, the Foundation provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships every year. Eligibility requirements vary, but students can apply for over 100 scholarships by submitting one application, which opens Oct. 1. 

Browse the list of EOU Foundation scholarships, or learn how to donate to the Student Crisis Fund at eou.edu/foundation