When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, students at George Mason University faced a myriad of uncertainties, fears, and financial distress. Their needs ranged from inability to pay for books and tuition to childcare, food, and housing insecurity. Mason’s University Life team, supported by hundreds of donors and community members, sprang into action, launching the Student Emergency Assistance Fund.
Maliheh Bitaraf, an Iranian international student at Mason, was 6,000 miles from home when the pandemic hit, and seemingly cut off from help. With no loans or scholarship funds available to her, she reached out for help at Mason. “Words fail to express my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Mason’s emergency assistance funding and to University Life for their incredible support,” said Bitaraf, who now expects to graduate with her master’s degree in May 2022. “I feel so blessed and grateful to have been selected as a recipient of two awards. I really appreciate Mason for being so supportive and kind. The school funding, particularly under this stressful Covid time, lifted the financial burden and allowed me to focus on studying.”
From the start of the pandemic in March 2020 until October 2021, Mason’s University Life department has distributed more than $7 million in emergency aid to nearly 6,000 students, helping our region and impacting countless lives for the better. The efforts will continue, and you can support by making a gift to the Student Emergency Fund.