RICHLAND, Wash. – In light of COVID-19 and to coincide with Giving Tuesday Now on May 5, STCU has donated $25,000 to the WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor’s Excellence Fund to support students experiencing hardship amid COVID-19 and beyond.

The funds will be used to help students and their families who have lost jobs, are experiencing furloughs, those who are having difficulties meeting their daily living experiences and other related hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an incredible gift from STCU for our students and their families and will go a long way in allowing our students to continue with their college education,” WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes said. “Studies show that if students have to take a break from college, they are much less likely to return. A higher education helps individuals secure a more stable future, rebound more quickly in the face of a recession and prepares them for the variety of life’s ups and downs. This gift will help many students continue with their education.”

As an organization founded by teachers, STCU honors its heritage by supporting education and sound financial decisions, said Ezra Eckhardt, president and CEO of the not-for-profit credit union.“In this time of unprecedented need, STCU is grateful for the opportunity to help WSU students and their families in Tri-Cities,” Eckhardt said. “Staying on track with their WSU education will open doors for them, and benefit the entire community.”

Before the pandemic began, 37 percent of WSU Tri-Cities students reported that it was difficult for them to meet their daily living expenses and 7 percent of students indicated they were at-risk of homelessness.

“That number has likely increased exponentially since the pandemic began,” said Jaime Heppler, WSU Tri-Cities executive director of advancement and community engagement. “We are thrilled to partner with STCU to provide relief funds for students so that they can continue on with their schooling and secure a better future for themselves and their family.”

To give a gift to help struggling WSU Tri-Cities students, visit tricities.wsu.edu/give. WSU Tri-Cities is currently asking individuals to donate to the WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor’s Excellence Fund, which provides the university the flexibility to apply funds to students where needed.