In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, SVA continues to find new ways to expand its support of currently enrolled students. Last week, the College introduced the SVA Student Emergency Relief Fund, a collaboration between the SVA Alumni Society and the Visual Arts Foundation, to provide emergency financial assistance to support full-time graduate or undergraduate students, including international students, who are experiencing acute economic distress. An initial sum of $50,000 has been contributed by the organizations, with the goal of sustaining the Fund through donations from within the SVA community.
The purpose of the Fund is to offer small microgrants to help with unforeseen, unavoidable hardships. The SVA Alumni Society will grant approved applicants up to $500 for qualifying needs, including healthcare costs, emergency travel, food, loss of childcare and temporary unemployment and others. Students can receive one grant per semester, and a maximum of two grants during their SVA career, none of which need to be repaid. The number of students who can be served by the Fund is subject to the availability of funds. Since it was announced last week, applications have been steadily rolling in, showing the need is substantial.
The Emergency Relief Fund is just one of a few ways SVA has shown its support for students amidst this global crisis. Last month, the College announced it would offer a 50% refund of the department, course and access fees for the spring 2020 semester. Unlike tuition, which covers the broader costs of running SVA, including its many valued faculty members, fees are directly associated with facilities and campus activities that have been closed and canceled. Since the transition to online learning in mid-March, the College has also kept its residence halls open, giving students the option to remain in New York City until they are able to travel.
Of the Fund, SVA President David Rhodes said, “Now more than ever, the welfare of our students is our top priority. The Emergency Relief Fund shows that even a little can go a long way, and we are grateful to the SVA Alumni Society and the Visual Arts Foundation for recognizing a need and collaborating so quickly. The impact of COVID-19 is an unprecedented and complicated event for institutions to grapple with, and SVA is no exception. And while we may not be able to gather together physically, we will continue to find new ways to bring our community closer.”