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Scholarship Fund Aims to Help Students with Financial Emergencies

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A scholarship fund called Stay AFLOAT will help USF St. Petersburg students during financial emergencies. As one component of the forthcoming Help-a-Bull Emergency Aid Program, which also includes a textbook accessibility fund and campus food pantry, Stay AFLOAT aims to make college more accessible by alleviating some of the financial hardships that can result from unforeseen circumstances.

“Stay AFLOAT is an emergency fund for students who have a short-term need that may keep them from continuing their education without some assistance,” said Dr. Martin Tadlock, Regional Chancellor of USF St. Petersburg, who first proposed the fund.

The fund is designed to provide “acts of kindness” to keep students on course and towards graduation. Dr. Tadlock knows firsthand how a little financial help can go a long way.

“When I was a college student, we were a few days away from the next payday and a fan belt broke on the car,” he said. “We had no money to replace the belt and needed the car in order to get to class. It was the ‘last straw’ in a series of events that left us on the edge of dropping out of college. Fortunately, the shop let us post-date a check, and that one act of kindness let us make it until payday and continue going to class.”

The Stay AFLOAT fund is one of three funds that will be part of this year’s USFSP Giving Day on April 4, 2019, a day where USFSP alumni, family and friends show pride and support specific areas of the university. The other two funds provide additional types of student support as well. The Library Textbook Accessability Fund will be used to help students with the availability of textbooks and the Feed-A-Bull Fund will be used to support the operational needs of the soon to be on-campus food pantry, which will provide supplemental food to students in need within the USFSP community.

“We are in the initial development of the USFSP Help-A-Bull Emergency Aid Program, which will include all three funds. The Program will be a centralized location for a variety of financial resources,” said Erin Dunn, Campus Director of Financial Aid, Scholarships and AFLOAT Financial Education. “Whether it is food insecurity, housing insecurity or paying for textbooks, all of these concerns are focused around money. We have so many resources that are available to students that they are often not aware of. On the other hand, faculty, staff and administrators may also be unaware of the help that is available to students. We want to seek collaborative solutions with our partners across campus to help our students in need.”

Providing an inclusive community is one of the university’s three key pillars. That means welcoming and supporting students from all backgrounds, walks of life and financial situations. Through the Help-a-Bull Emergency Aid Program, the various support funds, and a collaborative network, USFSP is offering students the resources they need to fulfill a successful college experience and education.

If you would like to contribute to any of these three funds, you can do so at: 

  • Stay AFLOAT Fund – Retaining students that may encounter hardships and/or unexpected circumstances. Scholarship criteria: full or part-time students, at all academic levels and all majors on the USF St. Petersburg campus. This scholarship can be awarded for one semester.
  • Feed-A-Bull Fund – Supporting ongoing operational needs of the campus food pantry, which provides supplemental food to students in need.
  • Library Textbook Accessibility Fund – Supporting the purchase of textbooks and electronic resources used by faculty for courses taught at USFSP.
  • Via Check: Made out to the USF Foundation with PK0023, PC0045, or PL0006 in the memo line. Send to: USFSP University Advancement, 140 7th Avenue South, LPH414, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

To become a part of the conversation to establish the USFSP Help-A-Bull Emergency Program, please email Erin Dunn at edunn1@usf.edu.

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