Gator News

GRC partners with United Way of King County to expand student emergency fund

By Philip Denman, April 9, 2019

Green River College and United Way of King County have partnered to expand the available assistance for students facing unforeseen financial emergencies or catastrophic events.

According to a 2018 study by Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, 42% of community college students experience food insecurities while 46% face housing insecurities. In an effort to address these, and many other hardships facing students, Green River created its first student emergency fund—now called Gator Pledge—in 2009.

Thanks to a recent $80,000 grant from United Way of King County, Gator Pledge will be able to make a larger impact for more students each quarter.

Expenses that will be considered include but are not limited to: emergency help with utilities, transportation costs, tuition, fees, books, help with medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance, childcare.

“Our donors and United Way of King County are the heroes of the Gator Pledge story,” George Frasier, vice president, College Advancement, said. “Insuring that an unexpected financial challenge doesn’t end a student’s academic journey at Green River is why the Gator Pledge was created. Funding from UWKC and our private donors will help hundreds of students stay on campus and on track to complete their goals.”

The fund provides immediate relief for current Green River students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to an unexpected situation that would otherwise cause a student to drop out.

According to Benefits Hub Coach Thomas Arbaugh, earning a degree provides students the opportunity to attain a better job and escape poverty. “Emergency financial assistance means to students that they have equitable access to education despite their social-economic standing of poverty.”

Students can be referred by a faculty or staff member by filling out the Gator Pledge Intake Form, or by contacting the Students Benefits Hub at 253-833-9111, ext. 2569.

Individuals interested in making a contribution to the Gator Pledge fund should contact the Green River College Foundation at 253-288-3330 or foundation@greenriver.edu.

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