The financial impact of COVID-19

How one student overcame the odds with the help of Destination Graduation

Tonya was on her way to college. She had everything lined up for success. Her employer accommodated her schedule, her classes were picked, and she was ready to begin the next chapter in her life.

Unfortunately, her health began to decline. She struggled to meet the demands on her schedule that now included treatments for her condition. Then, in November 2020, Tonya lost her job when her employer could no longer keep their doors open due to COVID-19. Without her job to pay for her basic needs, let alone her education, graduating college now seemed like an impossibility.

211 Information & Referral Crisis Line

Tonya called Heart of Florida United Way’s 211 Information & Referral Crisis Line asking for assistance. She was referred to Destination Graduation Coordinator Jennifer at Seminole State College.

Jennifer helped Tonya search for financial assistance to cover her tuition balance, and together, they applied for a tuition grant through Seminole State College’s Financial Aid department.

When Tonya received her letter of acceptance, the first thing she did was call Jennifer to share the good news. Then, out of breath and fighting back the tears, she repeated, “Thank you, thank you so much!”

Supporting ALICE

When life-changing events, like COVID-19, impact our community, the economic consequences overwhelmingly the ALICE population, which predominantly fill local hourly jobs. However, with the support of organizations like Truist, Seminole State College, and Heart of Florida United Way, students like Tonya can stay receive the basics they need to survive and still work towards a better future for themselves and their families.  

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