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07/22/21 - Announcing NKU's $3M Equity Initiatives - Eliminating Student Debt & Enhancing Mental Health Support

Dear Campus Community,

We are pleased to announce $3 million in Equity Initiatives that prioritize students impacted the most during the pandemic. Using federal coronavirus relief funds, these Equity Initiatives will eliminate $600,000 in student debt, provide $250 bookstore vouchers to all undergraduates and enhance mental health services. They also advance our strategic framework and its three pillars of student success: access, completion and career & community engagement.

Our first initiative is eliminating $600,000 in student debt accumulated during the pandemic. We are bringing outstanding account balances to zero for degree-seeking students with balances from Spring 2020 through the Spring 2021 Semester, not in collections.

This is so important because we know the health crisis and ensuing recession affected so many of our students and their families. Clearing their account balances allows our students to continue their educational journey with a fresh start without worrying about what they owe the university. We know that earning a baccalaureate degree increases upward mobility and alleviates the demand for talent in our region, so this investment aligns perfectly with our goals of student success and regional stewardship.

The university will also help cover costs associated with the upcoming fall semester. We are providing all degree-seeking undergraduate students, including online learners, with $250 vouchers to the campus Barnes & Noble Bookstore to help pay for books, technology and educational supplies. This initiative aims to remove the difficult decisions many students face– like choosing between buying food or course materials. These funds can make the difference between students completing their degree or stopping out.

Our third Equity Initiative builds on the NKU’s Presidential Initiative for Student Mental Health established last fall. We are dedicating more than $250,000 to enhance student mental health support. The funding will train faculty, staff and students to form peer support groups. This will complement the Mental Health Advisory Group’s work to bolster student wellness by connecting them with help, providing early and ongoing support while assisting them in dealing with uncertainty.

Aligning our Equity Initiatives with the three pillars of student success continues the important work outlined in our strategic framework. Success by Design shapes our Reimagined U and moves NKU Onward Together, so our students graduate with the confidence, creativity and skills to transform their industries and make an incredible impact in our region.


Ashish Vaidya