For Students Facing Financial Hardships, Micro-Grants Have a Powerful Impact

April 2, 2020 By Leilah Langley
Emily Rhodes portrait

The coronavirus pandemic is having a dramatic impact on the lives of Eastern Washington University students. As they prepare to learn in virtual settings for the spring quarter due to social distancing requirements, many are also managing the financial consequences that come with new technology needs, housing changes, food insecurity and unemployment. A financial problem now can also impact a student down the road. Any student who has $1,000 or more in unpaid tuition and fees at the end of this quarter cannot register for the next quarter.

“Many of our students who are used to working 1-3 jobs to help pay down their EWU bill quarter to quarter are now on unemployment from one or all of their jobs,” says Lisa Poplawski Lewis, the Associate Vice President of Philanthropy at EWU. “When priority registration comes, a greater number of our students will not have paid down their current quarter’s debt in order to register. This is most impactful to juniors and seniors who are vying for seats in specific classes in order to graduate on time.”

Emily Rhodes, EWU senior

Fortunately, EWU can now offer students a new type of assistance to help fill the gap between what they receive in financial aid and their own monies used to pay their tuition bills. Krumble Micro-grants were created earlier this year thanks to a generous donation from the Krumble Foundation. The grants are awarded to continuing students who are in good academic standing and are highly likely to graduate.

Emily Rhodes, a children’s studies senior at EWU, was among the first students to be awarded a Krumble Micro-grant this spring.

“Unfortunately, last quarter was a little hard on me financially. I was unable to pay my full balance which put me over the limit for registration,” says Rhodes. “I was fortunate enough to receive this grant from the Krumble Foundation, which will allow me to register for class, graduate this quarter and catch up on my finances.”

Rhodes met the academic requirements for the micro-grant and also demonstrated grit, an important qualification in the selection process. The donors seek to award students who show courage, resolve, strength of character and the ability to overcome obstacles. For Rhodes, that grit will not only help her graduate, but also help her succeed in a career working with children in foster care.

“I would like to thank the donors of this grant from the bottom of my heart,” she says. “You have made it possible for me to graduate and pursue my future helping the children in our community who need a helping hand.”

There are so many students, like Emily Rhodes, who just need some assistance getting over a financial hurdle in their otherwise successful path to a degree. To help others maintain their course forward, please consider a donation to the Krumble Micro-grant Fund.

This story was published for EWU’s annual Giving Joy Day on April 3, 2020. To explore the may ways Eastern gives and receives joy, please visit our Giving Joy Day webpage.