Launched in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Kingston University’s emergency appeal has helped poorer students to overcome lockdown anxiety after job losses.
A recent article by The Guardian revealed that Kingston University paid out £900,000 to help students after the sudden loss of their part-time jobs and income.
“I applied for the hardship grant to help pay for rent as my student loan didn’t cover my full rent costs. The help came just at the right time and was a huge relief as it felt there was pressure coming in at all angles and I found it incredibly overwhelming.”
“I suffer with anxiety anyway so with that added stress and pressure it made my anxiety much worse and started to affect my personal life. Having a release of one of the pressures made a huge difference and meant I could focus on other things with a clearer head,” said Melissa Hariz, who graduated from KU this summer.
Hariz had two part-time jobs alongside her studies – she was making fundraising calls for the university and working as a waitress in a restaurant. The fundraising job was only available twice a year for six weeks which is why Hariz needed another job to support her.
“Since I was in my last year at university, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do both jobs at the same time. With another six weeks of [the] fundraising job nearing I decided to leave my restaurant job as I thought I’d be getting income soon.”
“After COVID-19 hit, I had already left the restaurant and after one week of the fundraising campaign the university shut, and the work had to stop. This meant I wasn’t going to get the income I was supposed to get,” Hariz said.
However, Hariz reached out to the university and received the needed funds to cover her expenses. She is encouraging students to do the same if they are in a similar position.
Kingston University earlier this year revealed that 39 per cent of their students come from families with household incomes of under £25,000.
“The university is here to help and really wants to do everything in their power to support their students as we are valuable, and they treat us that way,” Hariz said.
“I’m endlessly grateful for the support that I’ve received as not many universities offer this and without the fundraising team doing the hard work behind the scenes none of this support would have been available.”