Forsyth Tech will use a new grant to expand a new effort to help its students

Forsyth Tech said it will use a new grant of nearly a half-million dollars to expand a new effort to help its students.

The grant — $440,000 from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust — will go toward Forsyth Tech Cares, which provides emergency aid and other services to the college’s students.

The donation “will have a powerful impact for many of our students …” Forsyth Tech President Janet Spriggs said in a news release. “We want our students to be successful, and we realize helping students succeed means caring for the whole person and supporting their needs both inside and outside the classroom.”

The community college launched Forsyth Tech Cares in March as the COVID-19 pandemic started to sweep through North Carolina. The pandemic caused the college and other institutions to move instruction online and forced many businesses to close. Not only did some Forsyth Tech students lack the technology to keep up with their studies, some also lost jobs.

Forsyth Tech Cares was created to help students with what college leaders called “life happens” moments — outside-the-classroom events that can derail college attendance and cause some students to drop out.

As the pandemic spread, the college said the needs of its students became more pressing. Since March, the college said nearly 1,500 students have asked for help buying computers, paying for internet access and covering basic needs such as food and rent. The college didn’t say how much money the new effort has paid out.

With the grant, the college said it can help more students in additional areas, including child care, health care, transportation, disability testing and legal aid. The college also will use the new grant funds to provide workshops on budgeting, personal growth and parenting.

Forsyth Tech said the expanded services should help the college retain more students from semester to semester and year to year.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is a Winston-Salem charitable organization that, according to its website, works to improve the health and quality of life of people who live in Forsyth County and across North Carolina.

The funding of this grant will be life-changing for students who experience barriers beyond the classroom that hinder their success

Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, N.C. – The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has given $440,000 to Forsyth Tech to provide student support services leading to improved student completion and retention.

In Fall 2019, the college began working in collaborative teams of faculty and staff to research and identify alternative ways to provide students help completing their degrees and managing “life happens” moments. These collaboratives provided insight into the barriers students must overcome, not only to stay in school but to have food, childcare, transportation and housing. Forsyth Tech recognized the crucial need for a “web” of services that includes support both on and off campus through better connections with community resources.