The Graduate Center, CUNY Expands Student Emergency Fund to Provide Urgent Aid for Students Affected by the COVID-19 Crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has had a tremendous impact on New York City and by extension The Graduate Center, CUNY community. In order to support students during this difficult economic time, The Graduate Center is embarking on a fundraising initiative to provide immediate, emergency assistance to students directly impacted by this public health crisis. 
With the initial support of The Graduate Center Foundation Board, alumni, faculty, and staff, The Graduate Center has raised over $150,000 in order to meet a projected need of $500,000 in dedicated funding for direct student assistance. The Student Emergency Fund will provide strategic, quick-response grants of up to $2,000 to help students facing financial emergencies. There is a formal application process and each application is reviewed by a team of Graduate Center administrators and judged on its own merit. The goal is to assist students in completing their degrees, rather than taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from school.
By virtue of our competitively funded doctoral programs, our emphasis on research, and wide-ranging professional training, The Graduate Center is made up of a highly ambitious and diverse student body. Committed to CUNY‘s historic mission of educating the children of the whole people, we work to provide access to graduate education for diverse groups of highly talented students, including those who have been underrepresented in higher education.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, our students are facing new, unexpected expenses and financial needs. The requests come from students who have immediate needs to cover new child care expenses and care for older relatives, to supplement lost income, to pay their rent, and to pay for urgent travel home to care for at-risk family members.
“We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of students seeking assistance and receive roughly five requests each business day, said Vice President for Student Affairs Matt Schoengood. “Many of these students are facing tough choices in whether they can continue their studies given their financial situation.”
“This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and we are in it together,” said Interim President James Muyskens. “If we are to adjust to our new normal and ultimately create a stronger, safer, more equitable society, we must first take care of ourselves and each other. We are grateful to our network of supporters who have stepped forward to support our students in this difficult time.”
For nearly 60 years, The Graduate Center has given exceptionally talented students of modest means access to the rigorous, advanced education that readies them to address pressing, global challenges,” said Graduate Center Foundation Board Chair Peter Darrow. “In these uncertain times, enabling students to complete their education is more important that ever. The board is proud to support the Student Emergency Fund and the students who will benefit from it.”
The Graduate Center seeks additional donors and partners, with the goal of raising $500,000 over the next several months to help students meet urgent needs as the pandemic and its economic effects continue to unfold. To contribute to the Student Emergency Relief Fund, please visit
About The Graduate Center of The City University of New York
The Graduate Center, CUNY is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, initiatives, and the Advanced Science Research Center, The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.

Submitted on: MAY 5, 2020

Category: GCstories | General GC News