Donors respond to the call for help

Published on September 22, 2020

How the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund came to students’ aid during the pandemic

When many companies and businesses shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, students who depended on part-time work suddenly found themselves wondering how they would support themselves.

“With the outbreak of COVID-19, it was quite hard for me,” says NAIT student Uyen Pham. “All the campuses closed for safety. I had a job on campus; however, I could not work anymore.”

Uyen (pictured below) was not the only student facing looming financial difficulties. Of the nearly 4,500 NAIT students surveyed in April, 22% of those who said they needed monetary support to meet their most basic needs didn’t have access to it.

Thankfully donors responded to the call for help the following month.

An outpouring of student financial support

NAIT ESL student and bursary recipient walks outside wearing a denim jacket and wearing glasses.Because of the  outpouring of generosity from alumni, industry partners, friends and staff, students like Uyen were able to access the COVID-19 Student Relief Bursary to help them through the pandemic by alleviating their financial strain.

Over 130 donors supported the bursary fund. During a crowdfunding campaign, donations surpassed the original goal of $5,000, raising nearly $16,000. Funds allocated from the NAIT fund (a 100% donor-supported fund) and matching gift from NAITSA brought the total dollars raised  to $150,000.

Several donors, like alumna Cherry Dodge (Computer Systems Technology ’81), were compelled to make a gift for the first time to support NAIT students.

“I decided to donate to the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund to hopefully help a student who had limited support to complete their studies,” she says.

WBM Technologies, a company that’s supported a variety of initiatives at NAIT, including student awards and the kids summer camps, wanted to make a positive impact on people facing adversity as a result of COVID-19. They held a charity raffle for staff to support the relief fund and WBM matched all funds raised.

“We appreciate all the work being done to support students during these times – a testament to the amazing values of the NAIT community,” says Matthew Munro. “I know I can speak for everyone at WBM in saying we are so very grateful to be a part of it.”

“I am just really thankful for all your help.”

The  fund will continue to support students  facing financial difficulties throughout the 2020-21 year. It’s good news for students like Uyen, who knows first-hand what it means to struggle financially—and how it feels to be supported.

“I feel fortunate to have had an opportunity to receive a NAIT bursary. I could pay for my food and rent,” she says. “I am just really thankful for all your help.”

Here's a look at students' first week on campus

Our campus looks different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With our safety precautions and practices in place, students are attending classes in a variety of ways, including  virtual, in-person or blended learning environments.

See what  campus looked like  the first week when some of our students returned.

Bursaries mean student relief

Bursaries have  the power to help students overcome unexpected financial emergencies. Because of donors’ generosity, students at risk of dropping out of school because of a temporary setback gain access to  critical relief to  continue their post-secondary journey.

See more about bursary support.