Emergency Fund

Description of the video:

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>> Many, many, many talented students come to school and face things that they didn't expect they were going to face.

>> I would say, it was probably my junior year, the fall semester, when I was starting to register for classes in spring, I knew I lost, like, one of my scholarships, just because of the funding got cut, and basically, when that scholarship eliminated, it was, like, $2000. It can make you or break you.

>> Until very recently, I had no idea that we have a staggering number, 700 to 900 students a year at the various campuses of the university who, because they have just hit the wall, financially, have to leave.

>> First semester, I was, like, self-paying for everything, and my host family was covering my first and second semester, freshman year. But my host dad lost his job, so all of those plans that were all settled for me to go to college for a whole year through their financial support came to an end.

>> I was a poor kid. I grew up in an abandoned air force barracks. I then lived in a rooming house. Those were the first 10 years of my life.

>> Growing up in, like, low income and poverty, like, areas is, like, life is different. I want to escape that. There's, like, people I look up to that are, like, five years older than me, like, they're still stuck here, or they're, like, either in jail or dead. I'm, like, I don't want to take that route.

>> Law school was great. It was thrilling, it was exciting, it was exactly what I needed to be doing, and I got to the end of the first year of law school, had a child, and needed to take some time out to earn some money to go to the second year of law school. I went to tell the dean of students, Lynn Frome [assumed spelling], that I needed to take a break, and at the end of that conversation, he opened a drawer and pulled a check out of a file and handed it to me. And I said, "Okay, I guess I'm going to be back next semester."

>> Most of our scholarship programs are twice a year. This program needs to be continuous and immediate. We need a place that is known to the students where they can come the day they realize they're in financial distress.

>> That is [inaudible] IU Foundation, all of them have collaborated. It was an amazing feeling, that they wanted to, if I could have been able to jump, I would jump and touch the clouds. That's how excited I was.

>> And that really just, like, helped me because of that gap. We were able to bridge that gap of me, what I can work for and go to school and still get the good grades.

>> I understand now in ways I didn't understand at that point in my life, that if you leave school, you may not be back.

>> Often, for a student, the reason they've decided that they're going to leave the university is the straw that broke the camel's back, a $400 rent check, $200 worth of books, $50 worth of food. I think that if donors realize that an amount of money that small can literally turn the life of a student around and get them through with a degree.

>> This is how today I'm still here acquiring my education. I'm a junior.

>> After, like, graduation, it was, like, a real, like, relief, being see, like, my parents and my mom cry, like, it brought, like, tears to my eyes and things like that. Like, it was joy.

>> And coming back to both me and Provost Robel, I cannot imagine my life, and I know she cannot imagine hers, without someone stepping up.

>> An emergency fund is something that would allow our campus to do for those students what Lynn Frome did for me in that moment when I needed it most, to reach into the drawer and pull out the check and say, "You're not going anywhere."

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Over 700 students drop out of IU each year because of a sudden financial hardship.

Many of them have to forever abandon a life-changing education because of a relatively small shortfall: $200 worth of books; $300 in rent; a $500 medical expense.

By giving to the IU Foundation Student Emergency Support Fund, which assists students across all IU campuses, you can give these students the gift of staying in school.

Most of our scholarship programs are twice a year; this program is continuous and immediate. The IUF Student Emergency Support Fund offers students a resource they can tap into on the very day they realize they’re in financial distress.

Milt Stewart, BA’68, JD’71, IUF Board Vice Chairman