Valley students who left for college can continue school at Fresno State during COVID-19

Dozens of students are finding a new home at Fresno State amid the challenges of COVID-19.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dozens of students are finding a new home at Fresno State amid the challenges of COVID-19. Just months before starting his senior year at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Trevor Widger had to re-think his plans.

"Everything was up in the air: living situation, job situation," Widger said. "The last thing you want in the midst of the pandemic, in the midst of any crisis, is to have less tools under you're belt, and education is such an important tool to have."

After getting his associates from Reedley College, Widger had decided to complete his education in Chicago, but COVID-19 changed those plans.

"Right now, it's so uncertain in terms of jobs, living situations, the Welcome Home Initiative at Fresno State allowed education to not have to be one of those uncertainties," said Widger.

The Welcome Home Initiative is the first of its kind. It gives students from Fresno, Kings, Tulare or Madera counties the opportunity to transfer to Fresno State and continue their education closer to home.

"It looked like that was the best opportunity for me to keep myself afloat essentially and find an affordable living situation, and I didn't want to stop my education," continued Widger.

"I think there are a lot of students that want to continue their education, and they want to continue, but they don't have the means to because of Covid19," said Fresno State Director of Admissions and Recruitment, Phong Yang.

Roughly 40 students are part of the initiative and come from universities across the country. They're now accepting applicants for the spring semester.

"It's something that was doable, that was able to be navigated when it seemed like many other things in life really weren't," said Widger.

As for Widger, he plans to graduate next spring from Fresno State with a degree in Mass Communications and Journalism.
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