In Times of Unexpected Hardship there is Help

Elizabeth Watts

Elizabeth Watts had a problem. 

It was last January and the CMU senior from Gypsum had just learned that her aunt had been in a terrible automobile accident. Her aunt was in a coma, and if she survived she would be hospitalized for weeks, followed by many more weeks in rehab. 

“She had a daughter who mom ended up taking and I was doing a lot driving back and forth to Gypsum and Denver taking care of things,” she said. “I was having a hard time focusing.” 

One might call Elizabeth an over-achiever. She’s only 20 and will graduate in December with degrees in political science and english literature and, to date, has a 4.0 GPA. 

Grad school will follow, though she doesn’t yet know where. And after that she plans on a career in the non-profit world. 

But last winter and spring she had doubts about any of that happening. She was spending $60 a week on gas just to help take care of her family and she didn’t know if she’d be able to pay rent, nor did she know how she would find the time to study, since she also had to work part-time on campus. 

Political Science Assistant Professor Bill Flanik, PhD, told her about a fund at the CMU Foundation to help students with unexpected hardships.

She checked into it and ultimately proposed a plan that would allow her to not work for the rest of the semester — giving her time to study, take care of her family and pay the rent. She applied for and received $870. 

“The hardship fund can often make the difference for a student who has experienced an unexpected set back,” said Foundation CEO and CMU Vice President of Development Liz Meyer. 

But, she added, there must be donors willing to fund it. 

One of those consistent donors is Home Loan State Bank. 

Making an annual contribution to the hardship fund is just one of many gifts Home Loan State Bank gives to CMU every year. 

But Home Loan State Bank President Craig Springer said it’s an important one. When he was approached about an annual gift to the hardship fund, and heard the stories about how it often meant the difference between a student staying in school or dropping out, it didn’t take him long to say yes. 

“We are longstanding supporters of CMU,” he said. “CMU is an important economic driver in the community and we are always happy to support the university’s endeavors.” 

Elizabeth Watts is just one of many students who are grateful for these funds