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What to Do in an Emergency

By Robyn Gibboney

Emergency student aid. It can sometimes be the key that unlocks the door to graduation. Although students who begin at Rhodes may not finish for a variety of reasons, perhaps most common is the high cost of staying in school.

When unanticipated circumstances arise, resources intended to help pay for college may no longer be available:

  • A parent’s employment status may change.
  • A family member may face a serious health concern.
  • The value of invested college funds may drop precipitously.

In these uncertain economic times, the demand for emergency student aid is at an all-time high at Rhodes.

Meeting this demand is one of our highest philanthropic priorities. When students have demonstrated the ability to succeed academically and are active members of our learning community, we are committed to helping them complete their Rhodes education.

Emergency assistance has made a difference in the lives of many students. For example, a first-year entered in the fall with all the hopes and dreams of her fellow classmates, but then tragedy struck. Her grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her parents suddenly had to cover thousands of dollars in unanticipated major medical expenses. Thanks to emergency aid funds, we were able to ease this family’s tuition burden so that the student could remain at Rhodes.

Another emergency aid recipient speaks for many in a letter she sent to the college. That support enabled her to stay at Rhodes College and complete her senior year. “I am grateful to those who create these funds for unexpected situations that arise in students’ lives. Thank you for your kindness and generosity.”

Rhodes seeks to attract and retain a talented, diverse student body and engage these students in a challenging, inclusive and culturally-broadening college experience. We strive to make a Rhodes education accessible to all worthy students and to help our students succeed.

Fortunately, several funds exist to help meet these goals. You can provide emergency assistance by giving to the Margaret Hyde Council, the Joe Neville Society or the Student Aid Fund. You also may choose to endow your own emergency aid fund.

By providing for students’ unanticipated needs, you enable them to graduate rather than leave. You challenge these students to persist and succeed in the face of difficulties.