Are you facing an unexpected financial emergency that is getting in the way of focusing on your education? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The recent financial impacts of job losses and reduced work hours caused by the coronavirus pandemic has quickly taken its toll on many FIU students.
According to the Office of Scholarships, the most common requests for financial assistance include tuition assistance, rent/housing assistance, funds for living essentials – food, water, gas, utilities, etc. – medical bill expenses and car repairs.
As a new semester draws near, many students are facing a similar fear – how to continue paying for school amidst the coronavirus pandemic. For students majoring in the arts or humanities, this fear can be especially acute.
So, what’s the solution? Tatiana Viera, program coordinator for the Office of Scholarships and the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts offer some tips to help students stay afloat and stay in school.
“The most important resource students should be utilizing right now, if struggling due to COVID-19, is the Emergency Aid (EAID) program,” says Viera.
Currently, about 1,700 EAID cases have been received due to the coronavirus pandemic and more than $289,000 has been funded for EAID cases.
After the Emergency Aid program, the next line of defense for students looking to fund their studies is scholarships.
“We have so many scholarship opportunities open at this time through our website,” adds Viera. “We’ve been advising students to visit the site and apply to as many opportunities (for which they meet the requirements) as they can.”
The FIU scholarships website isn’t the only resource students can utilize to hunt for scholarships. Advisors and professors often advise their students to seek out major-specific scholarships.
Recently, three students from the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts were awarded discipline-specific scholarships that will help them cover next semester’s tuition.
MFA student, Wendy X. Ordóñez, was the first-place recipient of the Velia Sweet Scholarship Award from the nonprofit organization, Women in the Visual Arts (WITVA). Ordóñez was awarded $3,500.
“The Velia Sweet Scholarship will cover one semester’s tuition,” says Ordóñez. “This award makes it easier to get closer to my future projects and has encouraged me to see there is value in my work. It confirms there is an audience for it, and it is something worth sharing with the world.”
MFA student, Brandi Long, was also a proud Veila Sweet Scholarship award recipient. Long was awarded third place for her work and received a scholarship of $2,250 from WITVA.
“I am extremely honored to even be considered for a scholarship, but to have been awarded third place with such a competitive and talented pool of candidates has been extremely validating for me,” says Long. “I work and go to school full-time and this scholarship will be a huge help in paying for future classes. With this, I hope it will take some of the financial pressure off of me, so I can focus more on what I love – creating art.”
Landscape Architecture student, Mara Stegaru, is one of two student recipients of the ASLA Florida Chapter Career Discovery Scholarship from the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF). She was awarded a $5,000 scholarship to help her with her studies.
Department chair for the Department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design and member of LAF Board of Directors, Roberto Rovira, introduced his students to the Landscape Architecture Foundation and encouraged Stegaru to apply. The LAF offers scholarship, research and fellowship opportunities to all levels of landscape architects.
I feel very grateful to be chosen for this award,” says Stegaru. “The discovery of landscape architecture really changed my life and it’s truly an honor to have my work recognized by such a highly respected organization as the LAF.”
Public Relations undergraduate students who are members of FIU’s Public Relations Student Society of America have the opportunity to apply to the Ev Clay/ Public Relations Society of America Miami Chapter Endowment Fund scholarship which will award up to eight winners $3,400.
While these may be unprecedented times, FIU has enacted resources to help students succeed. If you, or a student you know, is struggling financially start by reaching out to your advisors, professors or those in the Office of Scholarships for help.