To help Worcester State students in this time of financial uncertainty, longtime generous supporters Gene and Julianne DeFeudis will match every dollar donated to the Worcester State Student Emergency Fund, up to $25,000. The goal for the fund, which helps students with emergency financial needs, has been raised to $70,000.
More than 50 students have submitted requests for support through the fund’s online application form.  A Student Emergency Fund Committee, chaired by Dean of Students Julie Kazarian and composed of staff from financial aid, student affairs, and university advancement, has already approved more than $13,000 in grants to students who have financial hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Requests are coming in for help to cover rent, as well as cable, cell phone, and utility bills. At the current rate, submissions for support are expected to exceed $40,000 by the end of May.
“Many students work one or more jobs that no longer exist because of closures on campus and in the community,” says President Barry M. Maloney. “This is devastating their incomes at a time when their families are facing financial challenges as well. Emergency funds are needed to help students who have lost their jobs or who are facing other unexpected financial hardships.”
Gene and Julianne DeFeudis are consistent and loyal supporters of Worcester State, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for scholarships and other university priorities. The DeFeudis Fitness Center is named in the family’s honor to recognize a $250,000 gift that matched donations to the Wellness Center.
“Students at Worcester State are hard working, and many are going through some tough times today,” says Gene. “If this gift helps some stay in school and graduate, then Julie and I are happy to help.”
So far, generous donors have contributed more than $16,000 to the fund. For more information on donating to help meet the Gene & Julianne DeFeudis Student Emergency Fund Challenge, visit https://www.worcester.edu/Student-Emergency-Fund/ .