New fund to help SIT students hit by outbreak

At least 250 students facing financial hardship will get up to $2,000 to cover living costs and school expenses

The Singapore Institute of Technology's student relief fund could also give out grants to students whose work attachments and allowances have been affected. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY/ FACEBOOK
The Singapore Institute of Technology's student relief fund could also give out grants to students whose work attachments and allowances have been affected. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY/ FACEBOOK

At least 250 Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) students facing unexpected financial hardship due to the Covid-19 outbreak will get help from a new fund.

The university said in a statement last Friday that the student relief fund will give out grants of up to $2,000 to each recipient to cover living costs and school expenses.

The grants could also go to students whose work attachments and allowances have been affected.

Fund-raising efforts, which started on March 30, are continuing.

As of last Thursday, $458,400 in gifts and pledges from 46 corporate and individual donors had been collected for the fund, which has a target of $500,000.

SIT president Tan Thiam Soon said the university is grateful that donors are responding so quickly to its appeal, and is looking forward to more people stepping forward.

The fund was set up to help students who had been hit the hardest by the outbreak.

Said Professor Tan: "Many of them are impacted by the family breadwinners' loss of income. Or the students themselves have lost part-time work or internship opportunities that would normally have helped them cope with their expenses. A number of our students are lacking Internet access or laptops at home for online learning during this time of stay-home measures."

One of the donors is Applied Materials South East Asia, a materials engineering solutions company. Its regional president, Mr Brian Tan, 45, said the company hopes its contribution will bring relief to students, allowing them to focus on their academic goals.

"The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting our communities in unprecedented ways, and we would like to extend our support to SIT students facing challenges during this time," he said.

Another donor, fund manager Chew Ghim Bok, 62, said he hopes the SIT relief fund can play a part in ensuring that students continue to focus on serving others, despite financial challenges.

A donor who prefers to remain anonymous said the pandemic may have made it harder for families to provide financial support to their children. Part-time jobs that students from less privileged backgrounds used to take up have also disappeared.

  • 46

  • Number of corporate and individual donors who had pledged $458,400 in gifts and pledges as of last Thursday.

"At the same time, the forced distance learning has brought to light that many of these students lack basic tools - such as computers - necessary for distance learning. My contribution should help to allow deserving students to buy necessary tools for distance learning despite the prevailing challenging times," said the donor.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2020, with the headline New fund to help SIT students hit by outbreak. Subscribe