Masked Bryant student holding a flying #BeBryantStrong flag
A year later, the COVID-19 Fund’s impact resonates
May 04, 2021, by Jeffrey Stupakevich

A year ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the country, its economic impact soon resulted in millions of workers unemployed and many businesses closing or struggling to survive. Suddenly, many Bryant students and their families found themselves facing financial difficulty, uncertain if they could afford to pursue their educations at Bryant.

“This pandemic has been extremely difficult to navigate, both mentally and financially, says Hayley Lowell ’21, an International Business major. “During the pandemic, my family has seen new hardships in social interaction, isolation, and financial cutbacks.” To help students like Lowell, the global Bryant community came together to provide critical tuition support through the new Bryant COVID-19 Fund.  

The impact that these gifts will have on the lives of students is immeasurable.

Created in April 2020 to provide financial aid for current and admitted students adversely affected by the pandemic, the fund has received contributions from more than 600 donors, including leadership gifts from Barbara Papitto and The Papitto Foundation, totaling nearly $460,000 and enabling Bryant to offer scholarships to students facing unexpected financial hardship. 

“The amazing support we’ve received has shown how the Bryant community is always ready to step up and help one another,” says Ed Magro, Executive Director of Development at Bryant. “The impact that these gifts will have on the lives of students is immeasurable.”

For Erica Johansson ’21, a Digital Marketing and Psychology major, the tuition grant came at an important time for her and her family, with her mother unable to work because of pandemic restrictions. “I am grateful to be on campus for my final year at Bryant,” she says. Thanks to the generosity of Bryant donors, Johansson says she “can now focus all of my efforts into school, and my parents have peace of mind knowing I will be able to finish my Bryant education.”

The COVID-19 Fund provided much needed flexibility for allocating additional tuition aid for students, according to John B. Canning, Director of Financial Aid. “Virtually all high-need students who contacted us over the last year made mention of COVID-related issues that were negatively impacting their ability to pay for tuition, he says. “Grants from the COVID-19 Fund helped bridge this gap and allowed many students to attend or return to Bryant.”

When the pandemic hit, Dana Michele Brokmeier ’21 says her family began to struggle and she was worried that she would not be able to finish her senior year. Calling her tuition grant “a huge weight off of my shoulders,” the Marketing and Media and Cultural Studies major is grateful for the opportunity to attend Bryant, saying to those who contributed to the fund, “this scholarship means the world to my family, and I appreciate this more than you will ever know.”

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