Strengthening Loyola University New Orleans and Supporting Students in 2020 - 2021:
During the current global pandemic and economic downturn, we ask Loyola alumni and friends to consider support for the priority funds at the university: the Loyola Fund, the Student Hardship Fund, and the Digital Equity Fund.
The Loyola Fund
Prior to the early 2020 onset of the pandemic, the inspiring leadership of President Tania Tetlow and the creativity and hard work of faculty and staff had Loyola in a strong position, with growing enrollment and financial stability. Effective planning by university faculty and staff allowed for an early, well-managed, and nearly seamless transition to online education for social distancing required by the pandemic.
Donor support of the Loyola Fund was crucial to this effective crisis management, and it will remain critical to the university as we move forward. Unrestricted gifts to the Loyola Fund make it possible for university leaders to exercise judgment and direct resources where they can best avert crises and convert needs to opportunities—whether to find new ways to recruit incoming students through enhanced technology, to support ambitious faculty as they teach labs and ensembles from near or afar, or to respond effectively when urgent needs arise.
The Loyola Fund supports our university--the university that has educated so many healthcare professionals, scientists, first responders, and other caregivers. Gifts to the Loyola Fund will make a tremendous impact as Loyola continues to educate students and prepares to return to the beautiful campus environment that students, faculty, and the surrounding community value so highly.
The Loyola Student Hardship Fund and the Loyola Law Student Hardship Fund
Gifts to the Student Hardship Fund help Loyola students whose lives have been upended by lost part-time jobs, the cost of moving home, family job losses, and illness. These new circumstances mean that the university now has a significant number of students who will need additional financial assistance to continue their education at Loyola.
Loyola is proud of our diverse campus and is committed to supporting students from all backgrounds as they complete their college education. Of our current undergraduate student population, 32% are first-generation college students and 40% are Pell Grant-eligible; 19% of Loyola’s law students are the first in their family to attend college. These students are especially at risk of having new financial hardships interrupt their path to graduation, and we know of specific students right now who are confronting real challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of these students will be eligible for additional federal assistance, the Student Hardship Fund will be a critical stopgap for them until this additional assistance is delivered. The Hardship fund will also be important as we address needs that might not be eligible for federal assistance.
Gifts to the Student Hardship Fund work to benefit both the students and the university by providing students with the resources to continue their education uninterrupted. This, in turn, improves student retention and graduation rates. The outcome we seek is a student-centered academic environment where students from diverse backgrounds can thrive. The Loyola Student Hardship Fund supports undergraduate and graduate students. The Loyola Law Student Hardship Fund supports students in the Loyola College of Law.
Technology Upgrade and Digital Equity Support
Like many institutions, Loyola University is adapting to a profound change in the way students access higher education. This new reality has required the university to incorporate more distance learning technology into Loyola’s classrooms and enable a hybrid teaching and learning model necessary for our current and future world.
For Loyola University New Orleans to continue to foster the students we serve, professors must be prepared to teach in new ways, in-class and online simultaneously. The updated classroom functionality will enable the instructor to teach students who are in the room physically and those who are at a distance at the same time. Distant students will be able to see the professor and their classmates in the room, as well as ask questions and participate in discussion.
As part of this modernization, the university will update 50 classrooms across campus with web cameras, microphones, a desktop computer with software and peripherals that will interface with the presentation systems that are already installed in the classrooms. These digital tools will act as complements, not substitutes, for the intimacy and immediacy of face-to-face learning and work to ensure all students have equitable access to curriculum regardless of their situation.
A key technology issue for some Loyola students is a lack of resources necessary for accessing Loyola’s enhanced online capabilities and requirements. Gifts to Loyola’s Student Digital Equity fund will allow the university to provide computers, wifi hotspots, routers, and other equipment to students so that they can work effectively from home and elsewhere.