For college students who rely on more than grants and financial aid to make their ends meet, the pandemic has presented its share of unanticipated challenges. When Deidra Edouard lost her work study job at Florida State University, the graduate of Lake Worth Community High School not only couldn’t send money home to help her family in Palm Beach County, she couldn’t make her April rent—and was facing eviction.
When Columbia University notified Daniel Garcia that he had five days to be out of his dorm and move his belongings off campus amid impending COVID-19 restrictions, the graduate of Olympic Heights Community High School in Boca Raton was down to $12 in his bank account, hardly enough to rent the storage unit he needed.
Fortunately for Edouard, Garcia and countless other deserving scholars assisted each year through George Snow Scholarship Fund, help has arrived.
Last May, the Boca-based nonprofit awarded 150 scholars in Palm Beach and Broward counties a combined $1.44 million in financial support; students, on average, receive $10,000, which is paid out over four years. That brought the overall number of Snow scholars currently enrolled in college to 381 students.
In a normal year, according to Scholarship Fund president Tim Snow (son of the late George Snow, for whom the fund was established in 1982), a handful of recipients still might require additional financial assistance and care packages, given their specific situations.
“Now, we have 381 kids having these kinds of troubles,” Snow says of the pandemic. “We’re trying to teach them how to take care of themselves and point them toward the resources that are available.”
The George Snow Scholarship Fund made it easy for students by creating a coronavirus resource guide on its website with one-stop shopping—links to information on everything from student emergency aid to unemployment benefits to mental health articles for coping with stress. It also went a step further for some students, dipping into its emergency fund to help students like Edouard; the Fund covered her April rent of $513. And Garcia; the Fund paid $135.51 to cover the first month of a storage rental. Another student attending Florida Southern and still living on campus lost all three of her part-time jobs; the Fund awarded her an emergency grant.
“We get to know these kids pretty well through our selection process, and then just staying in touch with them during [their college years],” says Snow of an organization that has awarded more than $12 million since 1982. “We know [the ones who are] most vulnerable. When this started going down, it was all-hands-on-deck trying to make sure that kids were not slipping through the cracks.
“We consider them to be our sons and daughters. Anything you would do for your own sons and daughters, we would do for our students.”
Pictured above: Tim Snow (top row, middle) with the 2019 Scholarship Fund recipients