Launching a COVID-19 College Support Guide to Help Students in Need
At Edquity, we understand that basic needs insecurity for college students is an epidemic, impacting the majority of students. As college students across the country now face heightened financial challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis, we want to make sure they have the resources required to meet their basic needs — including access to safe housing, affordable food, quality healthcare, childcare, and more. We’ve been working hard to try to help, and today, thanks to a team of incredible student editors, we’re proud to announce the launch of COVIDCollegeSupport.com, which features 500+ national and local resources to support students during this difficult time.
Why did we create COVIDCollegeSupport.com?
Simply put, we wanted to help students find time-sensitive support. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, many institutions have abruptly closed their campuses and dormitories — forcing students to continue their studies online, and quickly find housing alternatives. While these school closures are well-intentioned and necessary from a public health standpoint, they have introduced many unexpected challenges for students, including increased homelessness and food insecurity, and difficulty continuing their education due to lack of access to learning resources like laptops and reliable Internet. At the same time, the disappearance of the common types of jobs that college students rely on to make ends meet, such as service and retail jobs, has left many students without financial options.
Even before the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S, more than 50% of college students reported experiencing housing of food insecurity while in school. And now, according to a new report from Student Loan Hero, 81% of full-time college and university students are facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19, with more than a quarter having trouble paying bills or feeding themselves. Undoubtedly, the same is true if not worse for part-time students.
At a time when the status quo has gone from bad to catastrophic, we wanted to ensure students could access information and resources to help them navigate this difficult crisis. In compiling reliable national and local resource guides for students, we also saw an opportunity to provide students affected by COVID-19 meaningful paid work to contribute information and foster safe, destigmatized community around various basic needs challenges.
What information is included in the Student Support Guides?
The guides found on COVIDCollegeSupport.com are divided into basic needs resource categories, such as food, housing, and income. We have also included other categories that may be more relevant in light of the COVID-19 crisis such as legal help, health care, and mental health support. Using the Guide, students can search for resources across the various sections to help them navigate financial emergencies during COVID-19, as well as timely tips to learn which foods are shelf-stable, how to cope with social distancing, and more.
Students in New York City, Sacramento, and Seattle, can also search through local guides to find resources that are closer to home. These cities’ guides were created by local students we hired to expand resources to students in their areas. We are continually working to expand our local guide offering so that more students can benefit from these guides, and are hoping to add to this list of cities soon!
If you’re a student interested in working with us to begin compiling a guide for your city, please let us know.
We also strongly encourage students to explore the list of U.S. College Emergency Aid programs we’ve compiled in case their school offers cash grants, or other forms of basic needs assistance. Like most things created in the last few weeks, both our complied list and our resource guides are works in progress. Please let me know what we’re missing and how we can improve!
How will the Student Support Guides be updated over time?
With help from student editors and the Edquity staff, we are doing our best to keep the guides up-to-date as long as COVID-19 is impacting college students. We are aware that resources are changing rapidly, so please forgive any discrepancies. If you plan to access a resource in person, we strongly advise that you call ahead to confirm the hours are correct.
We are also very open to your suggestions! If you see something that is out of date or would like to add another resource, please feel free to complete this form.
If you’re a college administrator who would like to learn more about working with Edquity, or a student looking for support with the Edquity app, please visit Edquity.co or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.