Queens College Foundation provides $2.75M in emergency funding to support students

Zaire Couloute
Courtesy of Queens College

In an unprecedented time of great hardship for the student population, the Queens College Foundation board of trustees has generously allocated $2.75 million in support of need-based scholarships, the QC student food pantry and tech internships. 

Combined with funding from other sources, the one-time, supplemental infusion of funds will reach $3 million and will help counter the difficult financial circumstances faced by many students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The funding is intended to ensure that students who might not otherwise be able to continue their studies are appropriately supported and able to achieve their educational objectives. 

Queens College President Frank Wu said they’re “deeply grateful for the superb generosity of the QC Foundation board members.” 

“This most timely action will allow our dedicated students to pursue their higher education, advance toward graduation, and fully participate in the economic recovery of our city and state,” Wu said. “The foundation, which comprises loyal alumni and friends of the college, is providing enormous and tangible assistance and encouragement to our current students. We are profoundly appreciative.” 

The Queens College Foundation, a not-for-profit educational foundation chartered by the Department of Education of the State of New York in 1980, is federally tax-exempt. Like similar organizations at many public colleges and universities, the Queens College Foundation ensures that state-budgeted funds are maintained apart from private and corporate contributions. 

Additionally, it develops and increases college resources, providing more extensive educational opportunities to students and service to faculty. The foundation receives gifts and grants with which it finances research advancing educational objectives in the college’s constituent schools; it also awards and administers scholarships and fellowships. 

The foundation is governed by a board of trustees comprising prominent business, artistic and intellectual leaders from New York state and the nation.

Queens College ‘68 alum Lee Fensterstock, who is the chair of the Queens College Foundation and chairman/CEO of Fensterstock Associates, said they hope to inspire more alumni and friends to join in contributing to student success.  

“As a proud alumnus, I know first hand the professional and personal value of a Queens College degree,” Fensterstock said. “We are taking this unprecedented action in recognition of the challenging circumstances faced by students as they cope with the pandemic while pursuing their studies. Our society needs their talents as we rebuild the economy. We are eager to support President Wu and his team to help assure greater student retention and graduation.”

Queens College ’68 alum Lee Fensterstock, chair of the Queens College Foundation and chairman/CEO of Fensterstock Associates. Courtesy of Queens College.

Most of the foundation’s emergency support is earmarked for a new Queens College scholarship program for undergraduate students. The Retention Incentive Supporting Excellence program (RISE) will provide supplemental support to students who are unable to meet the costs of higher education as a result of the pandemic. 

RISE scholarships will be issued for spring, summer and fall of 2021. All awards will comply with CUNY financial aid policies. Athletics scholarship obligations will be supported as well, with further funding allocated to address pandemic-related expenses as competition resumes.

The funds will also be used for the Knights Table Food Pantry, which reduces food insecurity among QC and CUNY students; internships operated by Queens College’s Tech Incubator; and recruitment of graduate students.

“As the pandemic continues, Queens College students are facing many difficulties as they work toward completing their education,” said Zaire Couloute, president of the Student Association. “I know I speak for everyone when I thank the Queens College Foundation for this generous initiative to help students stay in school and to keep many of us from going hungry.”

In response to the circumstances created by the pandemic, Queens College also established a Critical Needs Fund in April to meet the most pressing needs of the college and its students. 

The transition to remote learning that occurred with the onset of the pandemic brought the economic disparities of Queens College students to the forefront. 

Many lost internship opportunities and jobs they rely on to support their families. The fund assists in providing adequate technology supplies and such basic needs as shelter and food for the school’s most vulnerable students. 

To make a donation to the Critical Needs Fund, please click here