CWC offers emergency funding to students furing COVID shotdownMay 1, 2020 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
Central Wyoming College is offering special emergency funding to students in need during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The funding comes from community donors, who have contributed more than $2,000 to the program since late March, CWC student affairs vice president Coralina Daly said in an email to The Ranger.
Each student can apply for up to $500 from the fund, Daly said, and CWC has given out $300 so far.
"We are saving it for things the stimulus fund will not cover," Daly explained.
She was referring to the $289,000 influx in student aid money coming to CWC as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Daly said she sent online applications to students last week so they could verify that their needs meet the criteria for CARES Act funding, which offers $250-$1,000 per person - or more "if necessary."
More than 80 students submitted their applications to her "within hours" of receiving the email, she said, and more than 200 requests had come in by Wednesday.
"Many of our students are really struggling to make ends meet, and we appreciate all the help we can get to aid them, especially the dozens who have lost their jobs," Daly said.
In April, Daly said, almost three-quarters of the student aid applicants at that point were "asking for help for food." But "the biggest challenge has been technology," Daly said, pointing to more than 80 percent of students who indicated they need assistance in that area.
With CWC closed to on-site instruction, Daly said, students have been "forced" to take classes online, posing a problem for those without computers or access to the internet. In response, CWC has extended the reach of its wifi routers in Riverton and Lander and has created a map of free hotspots available to students throughout Fremont County.
Administrators also have been working with students and providers to install internet services, Daly said.
The process has "really brought home how many people in our area live in places where internet is simply not available," she said.
"In an era of stay home, they have to leave home to get online and finish classes," Daly said, expressing pride in the dedication and resilience of students who have continued to progress in school despite technological barriers. "So far, we have actually had fewer students withdraw than at this time last year."R32;
CWC also has been supportive of students who had been living in college dormitories and were unable to find alternative living arrangements when the campus closed. Administrators said several students remain in the dorms despite the closure.
Others will see their housing bills pro-rated based on their checkout date, Daly said, and students with food plans will receive "whatever balance was remaining."
CWC will receive an additional $289,000 through the CARES Act to offset losses related to the coronavirus pandemic, administrators said.
To donate to CWC's support fund for students visit cwc.edu/giving/foundation-donation-form/.