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“LU Strong” Receives $1.15 Million Grant from Rebuild Texas Fund and Qatar Harvey Fund

LU announced today that it has received $1,154,116 in funding from the Rebuild Texas Fund and the Qatar Harvey Fund, both of which were created after Hurricane Harvey to aid in the long-term recovery of southeast Texas.  The funds will establish the “LU Strong Center” sponsored by Qatar Harvey Fund Scholarship program to support students affected by the storm.

The Center will provide centralized services for students struggling to recover from the impact of Hurricane Harvey, including counseling support and referrals for on and off-campus mental health services, emergency grants and scholarships to ensure students persist in their academic pursuits, connections to social service supports, and resilience training and support for recovering and meeting future disasters. The Qatar Harvey Fund Scholarship program will provide up to 527 scholarships to LU students still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

“Thousands of our students were impacted by Harvey and had to put their educations on hold or drop out completely for one reason or another,” said Vice Provost for Digital Learning, Division of Distance Learning, Brenda Nichols. “We immediately created a fund, the Cardinal Emergency Fund, and raised $350,000 but just as quickly disbursed the funds because the need was just so great. We then applied for a grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund to continue our efforts and get students the help they need to get back to school.”

The Rebuild Texas Fund is collaborating with the Qatar Harvey Fund to help the long-term recovery of victims from the storm. The two funds also collaborated on a similar scholarship program in Houston, providing $300,000 to Houston Community College to create the HCC Qatar Harvey Fund Scholarship program.

“The Qatar Harvey Fund is proud to partner with the Rebuild Texas Fund to support LU students impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” said His Excellency Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S. “Qatar may be half a world away from Beaumont but we are neighbors, not strangers. It is our hope that this gift will help an already resilient community make further progress on the road to recovery.”

The $1.15 million grant to LU is in addition to other funding the University received from the U.S. Department of Education and the State of Texas.  All together, these funds total approximately $1.6 and will be distributed to qualifying students by the fall of 2021.

The LU Strong Center, together with the Office of the Academic Affairs, Dean of Students, Financial Aid and the Student Health Center, will provide funds to qualifying students to cover necessary costs including:

·       Tuition

·       Housing, food, utilities, transportation, and child care

·       Clothing, schoolbooks, laptops, and other essentials lost as a result of the storm

·       Mental health services

·       Access to academic support and resources

·       Enrollment in specialized workshops to develop resilience skills

“We estimate that the impact of Harvey on the university $4 million,” said Nichols. “While LU Strong won’t completely meet the needs of every student, we do look forward to reaching out to those students who had to leave and inviting them back on campus to finish the educational pursuits they started.”

“We’re grateful to the Qatar Harvey Fund, the State of Qatar and the Rebuild Texas Fund. They recognized our efforts to serve those in need. Their generosity will change students’ lives,” said Nichols. “It’s a step in the right direction to get us back where we were pre-Harvey and put funds in the hands of those who really need it to recover and get their lives back on track.”  

To qualify for Scholarship resources, students must meet the following criteria:

·       Be a currently enrolled LU student or an entering accepted student in a degree or credential program for at least three (3) credit hours (undergraduate or graduate level) during their first semester of program participation and who must complete at least 12 credit hours within one calendar year.

·       Have a financial hardship that has been caused directly by the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

·       Be in good student conduct standing.

·       Must have used all current awarded financial aid.

·       Have a completed FAFSA application on file with the LU Office of Financial Aid.

·       Complete all questions on the application and provide supporting documentation.

Qualifying students will meet one-on-one with a skilled case manager, who will connect them with the right resources for their unique situation. Together, the student and case manager will build an individualized plan of action. The LU Strong Center will provide the support students need on their journey to recovery from the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

To apply for services offered by the LU Strong Center or to refer a student, visit lamar.edu/lustrong, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at “LU StrongProgram.” For more information, you can also call 409-880-8458 or email LUStrong@lamar.edu


About the Qatar Harvey Fund and the State of Qatar
Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, the State of Qatar announced a gift of $30 million for the long-term recovery of the storms victims in Texas. The Qatar Harvey Fund was created to administer the gift. Qatar is an independent state in the southern Arabian Gulf. It has a population of approximately 2.7 million people, the majority of whom live in and around Doha, the capital. Diplomatic relations with the United States were established in 1972; in the same year, Qatar’s first diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C. opened. The relationship between the two countries has always been friendly, highly productive, and reciprocal. Qatar is home to many Americans, and the United States is both Qatar’s largest foreign investor and its largest source of imports. Qatar-U.S. relations are growing continuously in multiple areas: economic, political, military, educational, and cultural. Qatar is a close ally of the United States and a strong advocate of building a peaceful, prosperous, and stable Middle East. Qatar has provided significant humanitarian and development assistance to countries around the world, including the United States.

About the Rebuild Texas Fund
The Rebuild Texas Fund is a collaborative project of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation, established to support the rebuilding efforts in communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The Rebuild Texas Fund works alongside organizations and community leaders in the following six focus areas: community and economic development; education and childcare; health; housing; rebuilding small businesses and workforce and transportation. The Rebuild Texas Fund will fund projects and organizations through July 2019 and will continue to work alongside communities through 2020. Funding through the Rebuild Texas Fund is provided to eligible nonprofit, government, corporate, and philanthropic organizations working on the ground in affected Texas communities. More information about the Rebuild Texas Fund is available at www.rebuildtx.org.