SFU to offer emergency financial aid to students affected by pandemic as SFSS lobbies government

Aid is meant to help students travel home or upgrade technology


By: Gurpreet Kambo, News Editor

According to a press release issued by the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) on Friday March 20 and announcements on social media by SFSS president Giovanni HoSang, SFU’s Financial Aid and Awards (FAA) office will be making emergency funds available to students related to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

The press release states that the funding could be used for a plane ticket home for international students, for technology such as laptops, or for internet access after the university’s sudden transition to online classes March 13. An application form will be made available shortly on the FAA website in the next few days.

It further states that emergency funds are also available for Indigenous students, who should contact the Indigenous Student Centre at ask_isc@sfu.ca. 

In an interview with The Peak, HoSang stated: “It’s something that’s very positive [ . . . ] the university is taking a step to make sure that we support international and Indigenous students, primarily, as well as all students on campus — especially those who are going through [an] urgent time in terms of financial situations.” 

The SFSS also put out a statement on March 20 that called on the provincial and federal governments to provide financial aid for international students. Specific calls included:

  1. “Financial aid and temporary relief plan for thousands of students losing their jobs
  2. Increased hours for international students working in sectors stated above (as Australia has done); to be allowed to work to support themselves
  3. Cancellation and reimbursement of medical insurance premiums
  4. Reentry for students who have left Canada for their spring break
  5. Reunification with immediate family members flying from outside Canada”

The statement also urged supporters to sign a petition on Change.org. The Government of Canada already announced support for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, but according to the petition, “hundreds of thousands of international students across Canada are left vulnerable.” As of press time, the petition had 2,376 signatures. 

Students who require emergency funds for other needs are advised to contact the Financial Aid and Awards office directly at fiassist@sfu.ca or by phone at (778)-782-6930.