FAQs: UNCF’s Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is impacting our country in an unprecedented way, and the safety and well-being of our employees, our member HBCUs, and the students we serve is UNCF’s top priority. Since its inception in 1944, UNCF has distributed more scholarships to help students pursue post-secondary education than any entity outside of the federal government. Our work has enabled more than 500,000 minority and low-income students to graduate from college and launch professional careers. Our commitment to closing the educational attainment gap for African Americans and other populations is as strong as ever.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

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How has COVID-19 impacted UNCF?

Are UNCF offices closed?

What is the status of UNCF HBCUs?

How has COVID-19 impacted UNCF’s HBCUs?

How has COVID-19 impacted students?

Have the UNCF HBCUs begun providing online classes?

How will UNCF distribute aid?

Has UNCF distributed aid to students and institutions?

How can a student get help from UNCF?

Will UNCF continue to award scholarships to students?

How have donors responded to UNCF’s appeal to support HBCUs and their students?

How can I make a gift to UNCF?

Will the HBCUs reimburse parents and guardians for the funds already spent for this semester?

How will this situation affect graduation in the spring?

 


How has COVID-19 impacted UNCF?
UNCF raises funds to support our member HBCUs and students. A large portion of those funds are raised at our events which we have had to postpone due to the pandemic. This means that we will be short of some of the critical funds we need to support our mission.

Are UNCF offices closed?
Our offices are closed and our team is working remotely for the foreseeable future. Telephone lines are open and UNCF’s headquarters and local area office teams stand ready to answer your questions. Local fundraising events are postponed ensuring the safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff. We continue to support our member HBCUs and provide scholarships to eligible students all over the country.

What is the status of UNCF HBCUs?
Some of our schools are closed for the next several weeks and others are closed for the remainder of the school year. UNCF is working closely with our schools to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff as we work together to navigate this unprecedented pandemic.

Tuskegee University campus aerial shot

How has COVID-19 impacted UNCF’s HBCUs?

  • Our HBCUs require resources to acquire and access educational platforms to deliver coursework online and to train faculty to teach online classes. Faculty and staff require equipment to work remotely.
  • Our HBCUs require funds to get dormitories, classrooms, and offices cleaned, to restructure operations to adhere to social distancing guidelines, to ramp up for body temperature testing, and to assist students whose part-time jobs have been downsized as COVID-19 creates a new normal in our operational culture.
  • Our HBCUs must provide emergency funds to enable students to return home, secure accommodations, healthcare, meals, and other necessities. With small endowments and limited reserve funds, our schools must now redirect essential operational funds to address student and institutional needs.

How has COVID-19 impacted students?
HBCUs enroll students from low- and moderate-income households and communities. Many students require emergency funds to return home. Others require laptops or tablets and broadband internet access once they get home in order to participate in online courses and prevent a gap in learning. For students unable to return home, some schools are providing on campus accommodations, meals, and other necessities.

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Have the UNCF HBCUs begun providing online classes?
Some of our schools have already begun to deliver classes online. Others are in process of ramping up their platforms for online class delivery and will advise their students accordingly.

How will UNCF distribute aid?
We are working closely with our 37 member HBCUs and other colleges and universities to deliver essential aid to students. To receive assistance, students’ complete applications for support through their institutions.

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Has UNCF distributed aid to students and institutions?
Since March 13, 2020, UNCF has distributed over $4 million to member institutions in general support to use as they see fit and has also distributed over $3 million in scholarships, degree completion grants and emergency aid to students at UNCF member institutions and other HBCUs. UNCF’s mission to support member institutions and students is important now more than ever. We will continue to provide essential support to our students and member HBCUs.

Texas College students praying at event

How can a student get help from UNCF?
Students impacted by COVID-19 at our HBCUs should contact the Financial Aid office at their schools or visit UNCF to apply for scholarships or awards for which they are eligible.

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Will UNCF continue to award scholarships to students?
UNCF will continue to award scholarships in anticipation of students’ return to campuses. We encourage students to apply for scholarships, internships and fellowship programs for which they are eligible.

How have donors responded to UNCF’s appeal to support HBCUs and their students?
Our donors are committed to UNCF’s mission, our HBCUs and students. Many of our loyal donors – individuals, corporations, and foundations – and new donors continue to give to ensure that our schools and students have access to emergency funds The need is immense. It is critical and it is urgent. Any help we receive will make a difference.

How can I make a gift to UNCF?
Please donate via our website at UNCF.org/Donate. While mailed donations are accepted, office closures impact our ability to process mail in a timely manner.

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Will the HBCUs reimburse parents and guardians for the funds already spent for this semester?
These decisions will be made by each HBCU. Please contact the Financial Aid office at the HBCU for information.

How will this situation affect graduation in the spring?
UNCF is working with our member HBCUs and other national organizations to develop plans for holding commencement celebrations this Spring. Stay tuned for more information on these plans. Students looking for information on graduation should visit their schools’ websites.

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