Clemson Family steps up to support employees, students with COVID-19 emergency funds



The Clemson Family is stepping up to help employees and students who face financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Jim Clements announced the creation of the employee and student emergency funds Friday in message to students, faculty and staff. He also announced that donations to support the funds could be made through the Tigers Helping Tigers program of the Clemson University Foundation. 

By Tuesday, $18,745 had been donated to the Employee Emergency Fund alone, said Sue Whorton, incoming Staff Senate president and a member of the committee that worked to create it.

Staff or faculty who need financial help “due to unexpected, unforeseen, and unavoidable circumstances, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic,” can apply for money from the fund to help with such expenses as food, rent or mortgage payments, health or dependent care or home expenses.

Employees must document expenses on their confidential applications. They can receive $250 from the fund once in a 90-day period and up to $500 a year. The applications will be reviewed by the committee that includes representatives of the Staff Senate, Faculty Senate and Human Resources.

Whorton said Tracy Arwood, a member of the Emergency Operations Center team, contacted her to work on the emergency fund when it was announced the University would close.

They knew some employees would not be able to telecommute to do their jobs.

“Somebody had to get the ball rolling, and Tracy did that,” said Whorton.

While COVID-19 was the impetus for creation of the Employee Emergency Fund, “it was designed so that it can live on” and help employees in the future, Whorton said.

Students suffering hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for help from the Student Emergency Fund coordinated by the Dean of Students Office in consultation with the Office of Student Financial Aid. Students who are currently enrolled may apply for up to $300.

“The spirit of this funding is primarily to support emergency circumstances,” the application states. “The goal is to help prevent one emergency or unexpected expense from jeopardizing a student’s academic journey.”

By Wednesday morning, more than $26,357 had been donated to the Student Emergency Fund.

Applicants must have exhausted all other resources, including loans from financial aid. In some cases, financial aid packages may be impacted by receiving funding from the Student Emergency Fund. Additionally, funds may impact a student’s taxable income and may be reported to the IRS. The applications will be reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Aid.

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