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USF raises $78k to help students through the coronavirus

The money will aid students with “urgent needs," like food and rent money.
The University of South Florida has raised about $78,000 through the new USF United Support Fund, created by president Steve Currall to aid students as they grapple with the coronavirus. [CHRIS URSO | Times] [CHRIS URSO | TIMES]

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TAMPA — The University of South Florida has raised $78,000 in just three days to help students pay for food, toiletries, rent and other necessities as they struggle through the coronavirus pandemic.

The money is being collected through the new USF United Support Fund, created in response to the virus by university president Steve Currall. He said the goal is to help students “keep their dreams alive."

More than 400 people so far have given gifts starting at $10. The two largest — $20,000 each — came from USF trustee Les Muma and his wife, Pam, and the Ramil Perez Family Foundation, headed by USF trustee John Ramil his wife, Naida.

Related: Florida universities count more cases of COVID-19

In an online video message announcing the effort, Currall said it was inspired by alumni and donors asking how they could help. The money will go to students on all three USF campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota.

They can apply for up to $1,000 in assistance by filling out an application and submitting it to the financial aid office. They must include a signed statement explaining their need for emergency funding and what it will be used for, as well as provide “documentation supporting the amount requested," according to the application.

“Your gift, of any size, will be transformative to a young Bull struggling through an overwhelming time,” reads the donation website. “Our students need you now more than ever.”

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