President’s Emergency Fund Assists Students Impacted by COVID-19

With generous support from the Saint Mary’s community, the College is helping students continue their education during this time of uncertainty.


"The President’s Emergency Fund is possible because of the heartfelt love and care that our alumni, parents, friends, staff, and faculty have for our students.” —President James Donahue

Saint Mary’s is extremely fortunate that there has been only one confirmed case of COVID-19 (at time of publication) among our campus community; however, the social, emotional, and financial impacts of the pandemic to the community still remain. For students experiencing financial challenges, the PEF is an opportunity to provide a buffer to ease the financial burden so they can continue their educational pathway at Saint Mary’s.

Since March, the PEF has helped several students and will continue to be a resource throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Students qualify for the financial support by meeting the following eligibility criteria:

• Students must be currently enrolled as a degree-seeking, full-time or part-time undergraduate or graduate student at SMC.

• Students must be experiencing unexpected financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

The PEF supports a variety of needs, including but not limited to:

• Emergency medical expenses

• Technology/equipment needed to ensure continuity of online learning

• Travel expenses

• Storage and relocation expenses

• Housing and living expenses

• Child-care expenses

• Health insurance

• Tuition and fees related to the fulfillment of payment plans for the spring 2020 semester

• Other financial needs arising from individual and/or special circumstances to be determined on a case-by-case basis

“The President’s Emergency Fund is possible because of the heartfelt love and care that our alumni, parents, friends, staff, and faculty have for our students,” said Donahue. “We unite as one Gael community at times such as this, which is why the President’s Emergency Fund is so essential.”

In addition to the PEF, the College is responding in other ways to assist with challenges that have developed as a result of COVID-19. Several residence halls were being prepared to be offered to support first responders in need of accommodations, especially since most are unable to return to their homes while responding to the pandemic. 

This is not the first time SMC has provided campus resources during times of crisis. During World War II, the Navy established four preflight academies in the United States and chose Saint Mary’s as one of the locations because the College had the space and the necessary resources to run such an operation. Within six months, the population at Saint Mary’s exponentially increased, and the campus was a fully functioning military training site.

In keeping with SMC’s commitment to its Lasallian core principles, the College continues to take measures to support all students. “Even though our campus is quiet now, all of our offices, including student support staff, are available by phone, email, and virtual meetings,” said Donahue. “I have faith that we will get through this together as a school and as a community.”

Contributions to the President’s Emergency Fund campaign are welcome anytime. Direct, matching, and challenge gifts are options for giving. Please call (925) 631-4509 for more information.­