Students denied funding from university hardship fund


Hannah Renton

Photo illustration

While evacuating for Hurricane Ida, marketing junior Shelbe McColley and her partner began experiencing car troubles that led to their vehicle being totaled. This setback caused the couple to have to stay in a hotel with limited resources.
Without a car and stuck in a hotel, she said the expenses grew beyond what she’d anticipated, so she applied for the student hardship fund to offset the cost of evacuation.
“I had to spend a lot of money just trying to leave and get somewhere safe,” she said.
However, she, like other students, was denied funds, receiving an email from Student Financial Services that said “our available funds are not able to meet the overwhelming need of the community.”
Vice President of Enrollment Management Nathan Ament said the hardship fund was created during the pandemic with the sole purpose of helping students “most in need.”
“Not every family (is) impacted in the same way by crisis,” he said.
McColley said that it was rough for her at the time.
“I was unable to work during that entire month. I was away from home and not with my family, so it would’ve really helped to pay for gas and groceries,” she said. “I also still had to pay my rent and bills that month, and everything that was in my bank account was running out quickly because we were basically on our own.”
Robert Morrison, the Student Government Association’s chief of staff, said that SGA allocated $5,000 of their $150,000 budget to the fund in an effort to “continue helping the student body.”
Morrison said he had no knowledge of the fund’s recent deficit and that SGA became aware of it at the same time as the rest of the student body.
According to Ament, Loyola alumni and friends have donated over $350,000 to the fund since its creation. However, he said that the amount needed to help students was “significantly more than was available” after the storm.
Ament said that each request for funds was reviewed individually and granted to those most in need. He said that students can contact the Office of Student Financial Services to get financial appeals which are reviewed each week by the Student Finance Committee.
McColley said she was not made aware that she could appeal the response from Student Financial Services.
Ament said that additional efforts are being made to continue supporting students and replenish the funds. The Loyola University Community Action Program held a bake sale on campus on Oct. 29 through its disaster relief program Joy Relief for which all proceeds went to the student hardship fund. Psychology junior and SGA Senator Adele Colson is planning on hosting a flea market in early December to raise money for the fund as well. There is also a small reserve within the fund for students in need of emergency funds for the spring semester, Ament said.