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New Fund Helps NC State Students Overcome COVID-19 Educational Impacts

The copper wolves at Wolf Plaza

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation has announced the creation of a Hardship Fund to increase its ongoing support of NC State’s Community College Collaboration (C3) program. This grant addendum will assist students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

NC State will receive $180,000 for its Hardship Fund, with $60,000 paid annually for three years. Qualifying applicants are students who have transferred or will be transferring to NC State from one of the C3 program’s participating community colleges. The fund will be administered by the program in order to help the students complete their STEM-related undergraduate degrees.

“We understand the hardships students are experiencing, and we hope these funds will help students stay enrolled in their classes during this difficult time,” said Marilyn Foote-Hudson, executive director of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.

Students may be awarded up to $1,000 per year to cover “unavoidable, unexpected and time-sensitive issues that present a barrier to their academic progress,” Foote-Hudson said. Funding can be put toward tuition payments, housing needs, medical expenses, technology access, car repairs, childcare and more.

“I had roommates in a traditional apartment, not a student apartment with individual leases,” said Tristen Cullison, one of NC State’s first 12 Hardship Fund recipients and a rising senior in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “They moved home when COVID-19 canceled on-campus classes. Both left without paying their share of two months’ rent, electric and other expenses. I had disconnection notices.

“Thankfully, the eviction moratorium prevented my eviction, but I only had an extra 30 days to catch up on back rent,” Cullison added. “Money from the Hardship Fund kept food in the fridge, my water and power on and me from being homeless.”

NC State’s Hardship Fund supplements a three-year, $1,064,000 overall grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation to the C3 program that began in 2019. This funding has also been extended until June 2023 in lieu of COVID-19’s ongoing effects, further demonstrating the Foundation’s commitment to the Pack.

“With the addition of this Hardship Fund grant, we can now make an even bigger impact for our students. For someone facing financial barriers, this could very well be the gift that allows them to stay in school.”
— Martha Harmening

“The initial grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation has allowed us to provide a wide range of programs and services to C3 students transferring from our partner community colleges, including scholarship support, paid internships and research opportunities with NC State faculty,” said Martha Harmening, director of NC State’s C3 program. “With the addition of this Hardship Fund grant, we can now make an even bigger impact for our students. For someone facing financial barriers, this could very well be the gift that allows them to stay in school.”

The timing of NC State’s Hardship Fund is especially meaningful for the university, as its Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign is coming to a close in December. This five-year philanthropic endeavor has seen numerous scholarship opportunities created, as well as the start of the Student Emergency Fund, whose mission of student aid is similar to the Hardship Fund. These funds will continue to benefit students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic far into the future while also contributing to Think and Do’s overall success.

The NC State C3 program is a dual-admission partnership between the university and 13 community colleges that sees nearly 1,700 students transfer to NC State each year to complete their bachelor’s degree. The program seeks students who demonstrate potential for academic success through previous high school or community college performance and exhibit a high level of motivation and perseverance in the face of challenges — of which there has been no shortage over the last 16 months.

Community colleges currently participating in NC State’s C3 program include: Alamance Community College, Brunswick Community College, Central Carolina Community College, Durham Technical Community College, James Sprunt Community College, Johnston Community College, Nash Community College, Richmond Community College, Robeson Community College, Sampson Community College, Vance-Granville Community College, Wake Technical Community College and Wilson Community College.

Hardship Funds are also being created at North Carolina A&T State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to support their respective community college collaboration programs. Alamance Community College, Durham Technical Community College and Wake Technical Community College participate in those programs as well.

All three Hardship Funds come as part of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation’s 35th anniversary celebration. The Foundation has awarded more than $80 million in grants since its establishment in 1986, paying approximately $3 million annually in grants to various North Carolina nonprofit organizations that support science, health and education.

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation is an independent, self-funding 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting activities that help meet the educational and health needs of today’s society and future generations. The Foundation is governed by a board of directors that includes community leaders, while the day-to-day operations are overseen by its staff.

For more information on NC State’s Hardship Fund grant and the C3 program, contact Martha Harmening. For more information on the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, visit

This post was originally published in Giving News.