Eagles Show They Care by Supporting Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Embry-Riddle alumni, faculty, staff, parents, trustees and friends have united to assist students hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than $137,000 has been contributed to the university’s Eagles Care Student Emergency Assistance Fund by more than 200 donors to help students in need of critical support at Embry-Riddle’s residential and Worldwide campuses.
“We have been so proud of how alumni are supporting their communities by creating personal protective equipment and delivering vital medical supplies. We are grateful to our alumni, trustees, our partners in the aviation industry, foundations, families, faculty and staff who have stepped up to help our students, even when their own situations may be challenging and uncertain. This spirit of generosity makes our Eagles Care Fund possible. We deeply appreciate these gifts, which directly aid students coping with the unexpected stress caused Covid-19,” said President P. Barry Butler.
Alumnus Spence Price (’71) says he felt compelled to donate to help struggling students stay focused on their studies, despite the extraordinary challenges they have dealt with in the past several weeks. Spence is a longtime supporter of his fraternity, Delta Chi, located on Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus, so he is personally aware of challenges that current students are facing.
“We have some of our undergraduate brothers who weren’t prepared for the additional expense and schedule changes,” Price says. “It doesn’t have a precedent, this type of thing.”
To me, it is terrible for a student, who is doing well, to have to discontinue their education because of a lack of money.
Facing new expenses and the loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 100 students from Embry-Riddle’s three campuses have already applied for funding. With the sudden transition to online learning, many students are grappling with unexpected travel, housing and technology costs— and even loss of employment.
Jeff Forste (’95) and his wife Catrina (’96), who have two sons studying at Embry-Riddle, gave to the Eagles Care Student Emergency Assistance Fund to help those families facing a sudden financial shortfall. Jeff Forste, who served in the U.S. Air Force, is now a pilot for NetJets Aviation, Inc. and Catrina Forste is an automation test engineer.
“We decided to donate to support Embry-Riddle students, because we know firsthand how stressful this time can be for both parents and students,” says Jeff Forste. “We are hoping that by supporting the fund, it will help ease some financial worries.”
Some Embry-Riddle students simply don’t have the extra financial resources to cover the unexpected costs brought on by the pandemic and are struggling to meet their daily needs while continuing their studies.
The Eagles Care Student Emergency Assistance Fund offers the flexibility to help students at each campus directly and quickly. It covers a variety of needs, from helping them offset tuition costs and other fees, to paying for a variety of expenses that may arise in an emergency.
It has been a while since Price was a student at Embry-Riddle, but he knows what it is like to graduate and face challenging times. The Vietnam War was still ongoing when he graduated and his dreams of becoming a U.S. Air Force jet pilot were dashed when he found out he was slightly colorblind and could not pass the military’s color perception test. He had intended to finish his flight training with the military and later fly for a commercial airline.
“I had to change my whole post-college plans,” he says. “I just had to regroup completely.”
Price says he counts himself extremely lucky that he never had to struggle to pay for his studies, and he has a heart for those students who work hard but don’t have that peace of mind.
“To me, it is terrible for a student, who is doing well, to have to discontinue their education because of a lack of money,” Price says.
Jeff and Catrina Forste agree it is critical to support today’s students, who will be tomorrow’s industry leaders.
“We are blessed to be able to support Embry-Riddle and hope someday these future graduates will pay it forward,” says Jeff Forste.
Posted In: Institutional News