Pirates United Emergency Fund

OCC will make grants ranging from $25 to $500 for students facing emergencies. Other needs, such as academic and tutoring help will also be available under the Pirates United Emergency Fund.

In an effort to help students navigate the COVID-19 crisis and continue to meet their needs, Orange Coast College is developing an all-in-one resource request form that includes grant requests for emergency needs.

Known as the Pirates United Emergency Fund, the form will be available by Wednesday at the college's OCC Cares page, according to Maricela Sandoval, manager of Student Equity. For any questions, students should email occassistance@occ.cccd.edu.

The fund will provide small but essential cash grants ranging from $25 to $500 to OCC students who find themselves in dire circumstances, said Doug Bennett, executive director of the Orange Coast College Foundation.

The fund is expected to cover critical food, housing, medical and transportation expenses, as well as funding basic laptops for students who don't have access to a home computer, Bennett said.

“They'd be small. I mean, they're not going to solve everyone's problems, but it’s something to help, you know, get them through a rough patch,” Bennett said.

OCC is asking for donations for the cause.

“Since we put the appeal out on email and Twitter a week ago, the fund has received about $12,500 in gifts,” Bennett said.

The OCC Foundation is working with the Student Equity office to develop a catch-all application for the many different resources students will be in need of, according to Sandoval.

This resource request application will include online tutoring, access to free textbooks online, assistance for students working remotely, help navigating CANVAS, and more, Sandoval said.

“It’s meant to ask students, ‘What do you need in this time?’ And then on the back end what we have is this triage effort with the folks that are receiving this information,” Sandoval added.

The equity office will review the different requests students put in and determine where the money is available — including state funds, federal funds or the donations given to the OCC Foundation.

If it is an academic request, they will be given academic resources to help, Sandoval said.

“It's meant to be all encompassing. The nice thing is that the student won't have to fill out a separate form for the financial pieces,” she added.

The college plans to let the campus community know about the fund once the form is finalized.

“Once we have the application, the plan is to let all faculty know so that they can announce it in class to let their students know,” Bennett said. “Then they would let people know who do not have direct contact with students like the counseling staff or the Student Health Center, so that they are aware of the program.”

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