COLA's SAFER Program Extends Students’ Academic Journeys

SAFER fund recipient Katherine McClain

Katherine McClain

Jun. 29, 2020


Since its inception last fall, the College of Liberal Arts SAFER program has helped meet the needs of nearly a dozen students with financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other life challenges. The funds, awarded as small grants, have helped many at a critical time when they might’ve been forced to choose between paying for essentials such as food and shelter, and educational costs.
Without SAFER assistance, Katherine McClain said she wouldn’t have been able to finish her studies this spring.
“The SAFER grant has given me the opportunity to continue the pursuit of my career goals during unprecedented times. As a full-time parent, wife, employee and student, I am stretched very thin, but in the middle of a pandemic, what I needed most was financial assistance,” said the junior sociology major.

COLA began raising money for the SAFER fund to provide emergency grants to students with low or moderate income during an unexpected crisis. When the new coronavirus pandemic took hold in early spring, the college ramped up efforts to bring in more funding.

Thanks to donors during the May 5 #GivingTuesdayNow campaign, COLA raised $12,175 for the SAFER program. To date, COLA has raised $20,605. These funds will continue to aid students with essential education expenses during unprecedented times, including students like Renice Sueno, a junior psychology major/neuroscience minor who was worried about paying her summer tuition. 

“Due to COVID-19, my parents and I lost our jobs and were struggling to make ends meet. I was very worried I was going to be unable to continue with my goal of obtaining a Ph.D. in psychology. Then the SAFER program came to the rescue,” she said.

SAFER or the Student Assistance Funding for Emergency Relief program helps cover expenses such as:

· Summer tuition, which enables students to gain valuable internship and work experiences
·  Graduation fee assistance
·  Certification test or graduate school entrance exam expenses
·  Textbooks, internet access, and other supplies
·  Funding for food and other essential expenses

The SAFER grant paid for McClain’s COLA Summer Internship with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, an internship that she said will advance her career path as a public defender.

“This grant is more than just a donation, it’s a contribution to our community, and I will forever be grateful for your desire to help others. Thank you so much,” she said.
With almost daily applications from students seeking assistance, donor support will continue to make a difference. To donate to the SAFER program, please visit our giving page