Fund for Student Success

The Fund for Student Success and the Student Emergency Fund provided critical resources to students impacted by the pandemic.

College graduation marks the time of a student’s final passage from adolescence into adulthood. The walk across the stage is the symbolic entrance of a new beginning and a fresh start.  Sadly, not for the College of the Desert class of 2020.

The institution’s largest graduating class in history of 1700, had its ceremony abruptly cancelled due to the pandemic. Just one of the many disruptions caused by the Coronavirus which changed all of our lives.

To help combat the disappointment, the COD Foundation stepped in and purchased regalia for every student providing them a sense of normalcy during a time of uncertainty and apprehension.  Students were mailed, robes, sashes and mortar boards all of which they could wear during the first ever virtual commencement.”

“This is just one small example of how gifts of any size to the Fund for Student Success can make a huge difference in the lives of College of the Desert Students,” said Foundation President Christine Anderson. “This Fund means the Foundation can respond quickly to meet some of the most pressing initiatives on campus and enrich academic offerings. Ultimately, this helps us help the College continue to provide the quality education students deserve.”

As the pandemic changed the world, many of our COD students were strapped financially, losing their jobs and, in some cases, their homes. They were faced with the reality of continuing their education or paying their rent, keeping the lights on, paying for gas or purchasing groceries. Since the Student Emergency Fund was activated in 2020, more than $400,000 has been allocated to over 400 students helping them make ends meet during the crisis.  Donations are now essential in order to replenish the Fund for Student Success and continue supporting students in need. “As we see more students returning to campus, we have seen an uptick in requests,” said Foundation Executive Director Catherine Abbott. “This fund exists with or without a pandemic and our reserves are being depleted due to ongoing requests.”

Below are compelling stories from College of the Desert students willing to share how they were directly impacted by the Student Emergency Fund.

“During the pandemic in March 2020, it was really hard because I was already on my own. If the Fund for Student Success wasn’t available, I would have been struggling between my educational life and my financial life. The COD Foundation helped me pay for my phone bill for three months because, at the time, I was also moving. When I received the grant, it really gave me the hope that I needed because I was able to focus more on online education and less on my financial situation. I really appreciate your help.”

| Lucky T., General Education

“During some of the pandemic, I was not able to work at all, and not having that income was especially hard on me. I explained this to my counselor, and he mentioned that COD had a grant to help students during this time. Receiving the grant was a big relief. My bills were stacking up with 48-hour notices. I don’t know where we would be today without the help from the COD Foundation. We were able to have electricity, gas, better meals. I am very appreciative and very thankful. My COD experience has been great.”

| Rayneisha S., Biology

In a time of extreme need, when my savings in my pantry at home ran dry, the COD Foundation stepped in when I asked for help. For this, I am forever thankful. The funds that have been granted to me will go a long way.”

| J.P. First Year Nursing Student who was laid off from his job because of COVID

Over 70% of Students attending COD in March of 2020 lost all of their sources of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And almost half of the students had their living arrangements disrupted in Spring 2020.

For more information on how to help our most challenged COD students, please email Catherine Abbott, Executive Director at

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!