New funding supports YVC students impacted by pandemic

Yakima, Wash. — Hundreds of Yakima Valley College students whose finances were adversely impacted by the COVID pandemic will benefit from a recent $1.9 million federal grant provided through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Jennifer Ernst, vice president for instruction and student services, said the funding enables YVC to provide additional financial assistance and other supports to help more than 1,500 poverty-impacted students complete their college degree or certificate.

“We know that many in our community have faced economic hardship during the course of this pandemic,” Ernst said. “This funding will help us remove barriers that would otherwise make it difficult for students to achieve their education goals and take that next step toward a better life.”

Part of the funds will be used to help YVC students who have accumulated outstanding account balances since March 2020 due to the economic fallout of COVID, such as the loss of a job or needing to stay home to care for children. Ernst said the financial support will make it easier for both currently enrolled students and those who stopped taking classes to continue their education.

“For students who’ve faced tremendous challenges, this is an opportunity to help them continue their education or return to school if they needed time off,” Ernst said. “In a challenging economic environment it’s essential for people to continue building their skills and that benefits our entire community.”

In addition to supporting debt relief, grant funds will be used during the 2021-22 academic year to supplement financial aid and other supports for students with the most financial need.

“Yakima Valley College is committed to providing high-quality, affordable education to our community,” Ernst said. “If you’re thinking about returning to school or enrolling in college for the first time, there’s no better time to get started.”

Ernst credited Oscar Verduzco, director of financial aid, and Wilma Dulin, coordinator in YVC’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, for preparing the successful grant application to the U.S. Department of Education.

As part of the effort, YVC also will provide financial literacy resources to students receiving support.

“We know how important it is for students to emerge from the pandemic successfully with their college degree or certificate,” Verduzco said. “As part of that, we want to continue providing resources to students that can help them stay on a stable financial footing while they’re in school and beyond.”

Current or previously-enrolled students with questions about YVC’s supplemental assistance for debt relief can contact the Office of Financial Aid at finaid@yvcc.eduor 509.574.6855.

Learn more about YVC’s academic offerings, including four bachelor of applied science degrees, more than 50 associate degrees and more than 100 certificate of achievement programs, as well as financial aid available to students.

Press Release Contacts:
Dustin Wunderlich / 509.574.6870 /
Stefanie Menard / 509.574.4646 /