Penn State Intercom......February 13, 2003

Emergency fund created
to assist students in need

Each year, hundreds of students face financial emergencies when unexpected circumstances put at risk their ability to continue with their studies and earn a degree. Unfortunately, in spite of the best efforts of the Office of Student Aid, seldom are sufficient University funds available to assist students whose resources are exhausted.

Now former Penn State student and Pittsburgh native E.V. Bishoff has stepped forward to help the University create a pilot project aimed at helping students with extreme, unanticipated financial needs. Bishoff made a non-endowed gift last summer to provide first-year funding for the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP). The Office of Student Aid is administering this program, which is intended to support students during such emergencies as the death of a parent, job loss by a parent or student, and other circumstances that deplete a student's and his or her family's resources.

"We typically review more than 600 students each year who face these kinds of hardships," said Kelly Snyder, associate director for scholarships and special programs in the Office of Student Aid. "Despite their challenging and often sad situations, we find that most students clearly want to persist in their studies and deserve support."

Snyder noted that students aided through SNAP are required to provide third-party documentation of their need, as well as estimates of current-year income. Students may contact the Office of Student Aid directly or can be referred by University faculty and administrators.

"We are closely monitoring how the funds are used to assist students and following up on the outcomes," Snyder said. "SNAP has been an unqualified success, so much so that the initial funds provided by Mr. Bishoff are nearly exhausted. Fortunately, he has offered to provide additional funding for the remainder of the academic year. However, to really fulfill its mission, SNAP needs the support of other Penn State alumni and friends. We hope to create and endow a fund that will allow SNAP to continue indefinitely and meet the emergency needs of all our deserving students."

For more information on SNAP and how to donate to the fund, write to Snyder in 314 Shields Building, University Park, PA 16802; call (814) 865-6301; or fax (814) 865-1179.