THE GLOBE AND MAIL | Universities, donors amass millions in grants for students struggling with financial implications of COVID-19

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Published: 21Apr2020

With jobs lost, internships evaporating and the prospect of summer employment fading, many students say they’re just trying to get through the first phase of the crisis without fumbling their final exams. Particularly for those who were already on the edge financially, the shift to remote learning has not been easy. For students who had relied on computers in school labs, for example, or campus internet connections, the rapid transition to online learning created expensive hurdles.

McGill University has made more than $1-million available to students, much of that owing to 1,500 individual alumni donors who have offered help. The injection of money was crucial as the office had already spent 97 per cent of its budget for the year, and the university, similar to many others, is appealing for more help from donors. Cara Piperni, director of McGill’s scholarship and student aid office, said a little more than half of the applicants for emergency aid were already receiving some help from her office, while about 40 per cent had not been in contact before. “Some of the students are experiencing this kind of financial stress for the first time. They were working two or three part-time jobs, for example, and those jobs have disappeared,” Ms. Piperni said.

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