Special fund helps students stay afloat

Making ends meet is a fact of life for most students across the country right now. But for VCU dental and dental hygiene students, particularly those expecting to begin their professional lives in a post-graduation world, times are particularly tough.

“COVID-19. Hard to believe none of us knew this word six short months ago. It has changed everyone’s life in unimaginable ways,” says Gloria F. Callihan, J.D., MInstF (AdvDip), associate dean of development and alumni relations. “This is a time of great uncertainty – for our health, our finances and for our students and their education.”

To help students make ends meet, the VCU School of Dentistry created the COVID-19 Emergency Student Relief Fund for students with severe financial need.

“Some of our D4 students may need to stay in school for what may be months longer than they ordinarily would have,” according to Callihan. “During this pandemic, the uncertainty of board exam completion dates, graduation requirements and licensure roadblocks impact our students’ ability to meet their housing commitments and day-to-day expenses.”

With VCU Dental Care clinics closed indefinitely to help slow the spread of the virus for patients, students, staff and faculty, students are unable to complete all of their requirements. Student loans were only made and available through the end of the D4 senior year.

“They’ll have to find money to eat, live, buy gas and so on until we can provide them with open, safe clinics and patients without disease,” Callihan explains. “Your contributions are directed to affected students as we find ways through this crisis.”