In March 2020, amid major changes to life and work, the WPI community not only remained strong and connected, but also caring and compassionate. As students faced unexpected financial pressures resulting from the pandemic, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends offered their support.

Alumni and friends donated over $81,000 to the WPI Emergency Assistance Fund with over 98 students receiving assistance this last year.

“The Emergency Assistance Fund helps meet the urgent needs of WPI students by providing emergency grants when students have no other source of support,” says Emily Perlow, Associate Dean of Students. “Students who have received a grant have expressed significant relief and immense gratitude.”

Most of the emergency funds have been distributed in grants up to $1,000 each to help with expenses for basic needs including food, housing (rent), and utilities. Generous gifts to the WPI Emergency Assistance Fund to date have:

  • Provided support to students who have lost or can no longer find internships, jobs, or graduate assistant positions; or have reduced income due to delayed employment start dates
  • Helped international students who have encountered challenges transferring funds from their home countries
  • Supported students who have experienced unemployment in their families and may be supporting their families instead of their own living and educational expenses
  • Provided support to students with additional, unanticipated living expenses because they cannot go home, due to travel restrictions from COVID-19
  • Helped students who may be receiving funds restricted to certain uses that make meeting other living expenses challenging
  • Helped international students whose family finances have been negatively impacted by falling exchange rates in their home countries

“These are just a few examples of the requests that have been made and the people who have been helped,” says Donna Stock, Interim Vice President, University Advancement. “There are many more applications on top of these from members of our community who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and need help.”

The requests for assistance haven’t stopped. In the past month alone, 14 students requested assistance with rent, medical bills, and food, totaling more than $13,000 in need.

Contributions can be made on our secure online gift form; select “Emergency Assistance Fund” for the gift designation and help a student today. Your gift will make a positive difference in a student’s life right now.

In the words of one recipient, “Thank you for your generosity, which has taken a weight off my and my family’s shoulders.” It means so much to all of us to know that WPI has such a caring community.