Emergency relief funds assist students, employees affected by pandemic

Brandon Fryson already had his hands full as a civil engineering senior at the University of South Carolina, with a full class load, a research assistantship and a few odd jobs to help him make ends meet. And then came the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nobody expects it to be easy,” Fryson says of juggling school, work and bills. “But with the pandemic, it just added another layer of stress.”

When the university closed the campus in March for safety reasons, Fryson’s research position — a project he’d worked on for two years — came to a stop, taking with it his primary source of income. His other paying projects, too, disappeared, as community distancing took effect.

In need of help, Fryson was glad to learn that the university has established the UofSC COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to aid students facing financial hardships in the wake of COVID-19. He immediately applied for assistance and, a few days later, got the funds he needed to help pay rent and some urgent bills.

“It meant I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay my bills for a while,” Fryson says. Now, with two new part-time jobs at a fast-food restaurant and a grocery store, he’s “back on track.”

To date, the fund has garnered over $215,000 in donations and helped more than 300 students with financial burdens due to lost jobs and internships and unanticipated expenses related to travel or completing coursework from home. More than 1,400 students have applied for aid, which is awarded as funds are available.

“I just want to say I really am grateful for what y’all are doing for students,” Fryson says. “It definitely gives people room to breathe in a weird time until they can get back on their feet.”

A similar resource, the UofSC COVID-19 Employee Emergency Relief Fund, is assisting employees struggling with bills or pressing expenses due to reduced hours and income. President Bob Caslen recognized the initiative of UofSC faculty and staff members who encouraged the establishment of a fund to assist employees in need.

In this changing and challenging landscape, there is an unprecedented need and opportunity for us to come together collectively to support our Gamecock community,” Caslen said in announcing the emergency relief funding.

Applications to the relief funds are reviewed on a rolling basis, and awards are made as donated funds are available. Information is available online about both the student relief fund and the employee relief fund.

To make a donation, visit the crowdfunding site.

Share this Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about