University of Portland students who have found themselves struggling to cover costs in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to apply for the Presidential Hope Fund, a scholarship unique to UP that is accepting applications now. The fund is an ongoing scholarship opportunity that typically ranges from $100-$1,000 in individual rewards.
In order to apply, students can fill out a brief form on the fund’s web page that asks for a quick explanation of the emergency situation that the student is facing. Students are encouraged to ask for assistance even if they are unsure that their situation will qualify for aid, and the fund is not dependent on their FAFSA. The fund will continue to give rewards as long as there continue to be donors.
According to the fund’s page on the University of Portland’s website, “the Presidential Hope Fund is a dedicated fund that directly supports students experiencing varying life-altering events that put their UP education at risk.” The main focus of this fund is to provide immediate relief for students who are facing the possibility of being unable to finish their education as a result of unforeseen financial burdens.
Some of the immediate financial needs that the fund is intended to address include emergency housing support, travel support, meals, technology needs and tuition support. Applications for the fund will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by members of the fund and donors.
Olivia Bormann, associate director of annual giving at UP, understands the fund’s importance from a student’s perspective.
“I remember how stressful being an undergraduate student was, and how big emergencies impact students beyond what the immediate need is,” Bormann said. “How can you put your best forward as a student when your necessities aren’t met?”
The fund is a one time instance of financial aid, not a recurring payment to the students who are granted the award.
UP’s Associate Director of Donor Engagement, Connie Ozyjowski, highlights the fundamental goals of the fund.
“It was created as a last line of defense, when all other resources had been exhausted and the student was faced with leaving school or being able to stay in school,” Ozyjowski said. “This fund helps students stay in school and finish their education at the University of Portland.”
On the fund’s web page, there are options both for students to apply for a grant and for people to become donors to the fund. Possible donors have the opportunity to make a one time donation or make recurrent donations. The fund will continue to remain important as many students face unanticipated struggles as they try to finish their academic career.
Ajay Davis is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.