By Holly Desrosier
Craven Community College (Craven CC) students impacted by the hurricane now have more resources for financial relief. As a result of a new state fund, the college has implemented a Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund to provide eligible students with financial assistance.
Thanks to a new $18.5 million relief fund passed by the North Carolina General Assembly, Craven CC is among 21 colleges in the state that will receive funding to help minimize the historic storm’s impact on student success. The package includes $5 million in emergency grants to assist students from disaster-affected counties with tuition, fees and expenses so they can stay enrolled. Comparatively, the University of North Carolina received $2 million and private universities received $1 million. Colleges were required to begin accepting applications by November 1, 2018.
The package also includes $5 million for repairs and renovations of local community college facilities based on information provided to the North Carolina Community College System Office by impacted colleges showing preliminary facility damage estimates of approximately $4.8 million. Finally, the package includes $8.5 million to offset an anticipated earnings shortfall due to enrollment declines. Only community colleges received these funds.
Craven CC will receive $408,333, or $1,250 distributed among 322 students per semester, until June 30, 2019. These funds are available to students who were enrolled at Craven CC or resided in a major disaster area as of Sept. 10, 2018. Craven CC students impacted by the hurricane may utilize funds for assistance with tuition, fees, transportation, textbooks and living expenses.
According to responses to a recent survey sent out by Zomar Peter, dean of enrollment management, along with numerous phone calls and emails, approximately 354 Craven CC students have indicated they were affected by Hurricane Florence. Out of those affected, 162 have requested help. Unfortunately, 118 students were forced to withdraw from classes due to the storm. Craven CC remains committed to assisting students in need to ease financial burdens and help them continue their education.
“It gives me great joy to be able to assist students who are in need,” said Peter. “Craven CC students have faced many challenges due to Hurricane Florence, and having the opportunity to assist students financially is one of the many reasons why I work for the community college.”
Additional resources are available for Craven CC students as well. The Finish Line Grant is available to eligible students who need to cover unexpected expenses such as medical costs, emergency childcare, car repairs or alternative transportation. Recipients must be in good academic standing and at least 75 percent of the way through a degree program or credential. For more information, call Peter at 252-638-4597.
The college’s Food Pantry/Supply Closet, set up by Phi Theta Kappa and Campus Life, is also available at Orringer Hall, room 115. Hurricane relief supplies and school supplies for students, faculty and staff are distributed weekly to those with a Craven CC student or employee ID. Donations of food, water, personal items and cleaning supplies are gladly accepted. The pantry is open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Students are encouraged to visit First Stop, located in Room 100 of the Student Center, for information about additional resources that may help with the costs of lost school supplies and emergency expenses.
“When students are stable financially, they are able to stay enrolled, complete a degree or credential and have the opportunity for employment or to further their education and career goals,” said Peter.
Applications for the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund are now available for download. For more information or to download the application, visit cravencc.edu/students/disaster-relief/.