Ivy Tech Community College is helping students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through a newly-established relief fund.
Made possible by a $500,000 pledge by Ivy Tech Community College State Board of Trustees member Marianne Glick and her husband, Mike Woods, the fund is being used to assist students both financially and with technology needs as classes continue to take place virtually.
“Many of our students are facing many of the challenges that our community at large is facing,” said Theresa Murphy, vice chancellor. “Many of our students work in addition to going to school, and they are seeing an increase in layoffs or furloughs and inability to work because of the closures … We know when we have other challenges involving being able to feed and shelter our family, it’s hard for education to remain a priority. So these funds are critical right now so that we can provide some of the support our students need so they can stay focused on their educational path that will ultimately lead to future career changes or new careers that will allow them to better support their families and themselves.”
Of the pledge dollars, $15,000 was designated to the Kokomo Service Area, which includes Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties. Community donations are being matched dollar-for-dollar up to $15,000 through April 30, which will provide $30,000 to assist area students.
The funds, according to Chancellor Dean McCurdy, will be able to aid students “very quickly.” The scope of the needs the students have, he said, was changing. Initially, as the college transitioned to virtual classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, many students immediately made requests for technology resources, such as internet access, laptops, webcams, and Bluetooth keyboards.
Through community partners, internet access was made possible for those in need, while the college helped meet the other technology needs.
Now, said McCurdy, those needs were changing as some students begin to feel the financial impacts of the pandemic.
“This fund will help support those students as we get into our summer semester, and they’re very flexible funds to help emergency needs students have. So it’s not just the technology pieces that they need. If they need help with a utility bill, if they need help with food security, these dollars have been designated to be flexible for those needs,” he said.
Already, the community has donated $7,000 to the funds, according to Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource development.
“Over and over again I’m hearing in the last few weeks that in all this changing time and all these things being canceled, generosity is not being canceled,” she said. “We’re seeing that with this campaign over and over and over again. People are just being generous, and they understand the impact.”
The funds already have begun to be distributed, she said.
“The longer we go into this pandemic, the more needs we see. So today we’re starting to see some of those requests for rent and medical expenses,” Karickhoff said.
While donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $15,000 until April 30, Karickhoff said donations still will be collected after that target. Donations can be made online at impact.ivytech.edu/COVID.Relief.Fund by choosing the Kokomo Service Area or by calling Karickhoff at 765-437-6917.
McCurdy said every dollar will make a big difference to many of Ivy Tech’s students.
“The difference between being able to stay enrolled and not being able to stay enrolled can be what to most people seems like a very small amount of money, so every dollar really makes a difference,” McCurdy said. "And 100 percent of these funds are going directly to our students.”
Students can request assistance by calling the Ivy Tech Kokomo main campus at 765-459-0561, and they will be directed to fill out an application.