UNF raises $700,000 for students facing hardships because of COVID-19

The university president is reducing his operating budget and his pay to fund assistance and scholarships.

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The University of North Florida says it raised nearly $700,000 to help students facing financial hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic

“The UNF community has come together in unprecedented ways to assist our students during this challenging time,” UNF President David Szymanski said in a news release.

Organizers created the UNF Student Emergency Relief Fund in March to provide immediate financial assistance to students dealing with housing situations, food insecurity, employment issues and other personal challenges during the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition, UNF Foundation board members Anne and Robert Lufrano are matching up to $50,000 in total for gifts to the Student Emergency Relief Fund.

More than $420,000 was raised at UNF, including commitments from every vice president, the deans of each college, members of the university’s board of trustees, the UNF Foundation, student government and the university’s police department.

 Szymanski is taking a 15% salary reduction for the remainder of this fiscal year and his office’s operating budget will be reduced by 65% next fiscal year to fund more than $250,000 in new scholarships and need-based aid.