Fresno State launches Good Samaritan Fund

FRESNO, Calif.

Wednesday, Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro sat down with Action News to explain how his new Good Samaritan Fund works and how it benefits Bulldogs facing a financial crisis.

"I definitely want our students to know about it and community members that want to contribute towards the Good Samaritan Fund, we'd welcome additional support for that," said Castro.

That's because problems like a computer crash can be upsetting for anyone, but when you're a college student on a tight budget like Amber Esquivel, losing your hard drive can be the difference between a pass and a fail.

"I don't know what happened to it (computer)," said Esquivel. "They said spam I think it was. It erased everything."

The third year student at Fresno State had to shell out $170 she really didn't have to get it repaired.

"I had a test the next day and I was like are you serious? What am I going to do? So I had to get that fixed fast," Esquivel added.

Now, thanks to a new initiative started by Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro, other students may be spared the burden of an unexpected financial setback.

"Things come up every day in student's lives and we know they're on tight budgets," said Castro. "What we don't want to happen is a problem like this where they drop out and don't complete their studies so we want to make sure we're there to support them as much as possible."

He calls it the Good Samaritan Fund. The program provides monetary assistance to students dealing with hardships like robbery, fire or a broken pair of glasses.

"We had an international student who needed to fly home for a funeral for a relative so things like that may come up that may not be a part of the regular student budget," added Castro. "We want to make sure we're there to help as much as we can."

Since it was first announced it last year, Castro said donors have given more than $11,000 towards the fund.

"It just feels nice to have that little cushion even if we might not need it, it's good to know it's there even if we don't use it," said student Marlynn Mijangos.

Fresno State has offered this kind of assistance for nearly 10 years through the Parent's Association, but Castro said the Good Samaritan Fund will create a more stable source of funding, students like Amber Esquivel can tap into within a matter of days.

"These little things really do help," she said.

Students can download an application online, they're reviewed by a Good Samaritan Fund committee and awards are coordinated through the financial aid office.

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