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Coronavirus Gloom, and Rays of Hope



Horatio Alger Association | The New York Times

By Dan Levin

Originally appeared in the New York Times

 

To the Editor:

Re “Poorest Struggle as Virus Rattles Life on Campus” (front page, Oct. 13):

I’m deeply concerned by the number of low-income college students dropping out amid the pandemic.

As president of the Horatio Alger Association, a nonprofit providing college scholarships to young people overcoming adversities, I’ve seen firsthand how challenging this pandemic has been for low-income students. We’ve spoken with students who can’t afford Wi-Fi to take online classes or who have gone days without meals because their parents lost their jobs. When campuses closed abruptly, some scholars were sleeping in cars because their families were homeless.

In April, we launched an emergency support program to address these urgent needs. We’ve disbursed hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to assist with food, shelter, medical bills and learning resources so that our scholars can remain in school.

Low-income students need support now more than ever. I urge businesses and nonprofits to contribute in any way possible — whether providing hot spots or housing — because these individuals have bright futures and deserve every opportunity to graduate from college.

James F. Dicke II
New Bremen, Ohio