MONTPELIER — Community College of Vermont announced Monday that it has expanded a fund to help students with unexpected financial needs, and created an endowment to support the fund.
The new Endowment for Life Gap Grants and the expansion of the Life Gap Fund build on an existing program that helps students bridge challenging situations and persist in their studies, the college announced.
"Now more than ever, CCV students are vulnerable to unexpected financial stress as COVID-19 impacts our lives and communities," said CCV President Joyce Judy. "In this uncertain time, students who continue with their education will be better prepared for careers here in Vermont. For many students, Life Gap Grants will make the difference between staying in school and dropping out. We are grateful to our philanthropic partners for their support of this critical initiative."
The Endowment for Life Gap Grants is made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor in honor of the college's 50th anniversary in 2020. It expands CCV's Life Gap Grants program, which provides scholarships of $250 or less.
CCV students are often the first in their families to attend college. More than three-quarters work at full- or part-time jobs while going to school. Many struggle to meet basic needs for food, transportation, and child care, and are now facing added financial stress due to COVID-19, CCV said.
"It means a lot to me to know that this gift might help support Vermonters who are working hard and trying to get through college in the face of extraordinary adversity," the anonymous donor said in an email to CCV. "I hope this gives these Vermonters support so they can take advantage of some of the life-transforming opportunities that helped my family do well. "
The college is also significantly expanding its Life Gap Fund. Donors to the Fund include People's United Bank, which contributed $10,000 contribution; the Alchemist Foundation and Twincraft Skincare.
"We are pleased to provide support for the expansion of CCV's Life Gap Fund," said Kathy Schirling, director of marketing and community services at People's United Bank. "Earning a college degree is such an important step in life that opens up opportunities. It is expensive and challenging on its own — adding a family and work makes it even more difficult. We thank Joyce Judy and the team at CCV for creating ways to support their students' futures in Vermont."