Students receive immediate financial assistant through SAFE program

More than 30 Fairmont State students have received just over $4,500 in Falcon Student Academic Financial Emergency (SAFE) assistance since the program’s inception in late April.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, nearly $20,000 has been raised over the last two months to support students. Most of the funds were utilized to purchase food as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that shut down the university in March to on-campus teaching and lead to a state shutdown for all non-essential businesses for about six weeks. 

Fairmont State University created the Falcon SAFE program to provide limited, one-time financial assistance to enrolled students who are unable to pay immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to emergency situations. 

“This global crisis has changed all our lives,” Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, said. “But for many of our most vulnerable students, the impact has been devastating. SAFE funds are doing just what we hoped – helping Falcon students meet essential needs, and mitigating the impact on their educational aspirations. This is what being a part pf the Falcon Family is all about. I’m humbled, but not surprised, by our community’s generosity.”

President Martin and her husband made the initial leadership gift to jumpstart the SAFE fundraising campaign. Members from the Board of Governors, Foundation Board and Alumni Association also joined in the effort, as well as dozens of alumni and friends of the university. 

The Fairmont State Foundation lead the fundraising efforts, including pivoting the annual fund campaign to assist with raising dollars for the Falcon SAFE program and sending out fund requests through social media and email. 

“We were not surprised by the overwhelming support of our Falcon Family who are facing financial difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and other emergency situations where they may need help,” said Julie Cryser, President of the Fairmont State Foundation. “We have a strong and loyal donor base who are supportive of our students, especially in a time of need. We want to thank everyone who has contributed to this fund to ensure our students’ safety.”

More than 90 percent of Fairmont State students receive some form of financial aid, and more than 60 percent are the first in their families to attend college. Many of Fairmont State’s students rely on part-time or full-time jobs to help underwrite their educational expenses.

Donors may still give to the Falcon SAFE program at www.fairmontstate.edu/givesafe. The university is still accepting student applications for Falcon SAFE funding by visiting www.fairmontstate.edu/SAFE

Typical expenses covered under the program include, but are not limited to, medications or other health-related costs; rent, utilities, or other essential household expenses; books or other essential academic expenses; personal safety needs (e.g. changing a lock); replacement of essential personal belongings due to natural disaster, fire, theft, or other unforeseen circumstance; travel costs related to a death or serious illness in the immediate family.

Students are eligible for the assistance who are enrolled at Fairmont State University for the term the emergency aid is being requested and have temporary financial hardship resulting from an emergency situation.

Students must have exhausted all federal student aid options (including student loans) and be in good academic standing and maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress with the University.

Once the application is processed and reviewed by a university committee, students can receive funding within two weeks.