Lori Holcepl felt the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic deeply when she was laid off from her job recently. As a single mother of two, Holcepl relied on her paycheck to support her family.

“Since the pandemic began, I have feared we would lose our home and everything we have,” Holcepl said. “With my children home from school, I also have to make sure they have the internet they need for their schoolwork, plus extra food and toiletries since we’re home all day now.”

Being aware that Kent State University offers an emergency grant fund for students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kent State nursing major applied for help through the Office of Student Financial Aid. She soon learned she qualified for assistance.

“I felt a weight being lifted,” Holcepl said. “The anxiety that I had been carrying faded some. I’m still struggling, but the grant took an enormous weight off me as far as being able to live day to day. Now, I’m just trying to complete my semester as successfully as possible.”

The Kent State Emergency Grant Fund is a combination of federal funds from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) and Kent State’s own fundraising efforts that are being distributed with the intent of helping as many students as possible with financial challenges.

Kent State received more than $19 million from the CARES Act, with at least half targeted for emergency financial aid grants for students. The financial awards are based on students’ individual needs and circumstances. So far, the emergency funds have reached thousands of students as follows:

  • Total amount of emergency funding awarded to students: nearly $6 million.
  • Total number of students awarded emergency funding: 4,600 students.
  • Total number of applications for emergency funding: more than 6,000.

Private fundraising for the Kent State Emergency Grant Fund has also made a major impact on assisting students during this difficult time. The fundraising totals for nine weeks (starting March 28) are as follows:

  • Raised $293,361 (as of May 28).
  • More than 1,200 donors (as of May 28).
  • 458 (37%) first-time donors (as of May 28).
  • 412 (33%) of donors are faculty and staff (as of May 28).

There have been a few significant gifts that have been made as matching gifts to encourage other donors during this time of need:

  • $3,000 Pete Holway.
  • $25,000 Kenneth and Ginny Grunley Family Charitable Fund.
  • $10,000 anonymous.
  • $5,000 anonymous to match other former student-athletes.
  • $100,000 anonymous currently being used to triple the gifts of other donors.

The Kent State Emergency Grant Fund has also helped junior Scott Reed, an integrated health services major who lost his job when COVID-19 struck, leaving him without the means to cover his basic expenses.

“I had no job, but lots of household bills,” he said. “And when it came down to not being able to buy groceries, I knew I had to apply for aid. I was not sure how I was going to dig myself out of the hole I was stuck in. But once I applied for the Kent State Emergency Grant, I had immediate relief.”

Reed notes that donations to the emergency grant fund not only help meet the physical needs of students, it also helps improve their mental health as they contend with online schooling and the sudden lack of income. The cash buys groceries and helps pay rent, which lessens anxiety and allows students to focus on their studies.

Right now, Reed doesn’t have a lot of financial help to give, but he wants to pay forward his concern for other Kent State Golden Flashes.

“I know that even though I’m jobless, I still want to help other Kent State students out in any way I possibly can,” he said. “Although not everyone at Kent State knows each other, I feel as if I have a duty to help protect all Flashes, no matter who it is. We are one big family, and I’ve never been more proud to be a Golden Flash.”

To be considered for the Kent State Emergency Grant Fund, Kent State students must: 


POSTED: Friday, June 5, 2020 12:00 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 12:42 PM