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HCDE Emergency Student Support Fund

HCDE is seeking gifts for a new emergency fund to support students facing urgent financial hardship.

In 2020, HCDE Professor and Chair Julie Kientz and her husband Shwetak Patel, Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, established the Kientz & Patel HCDE Student Emergency Support Fund to aid HCDE students facing near-term financial hardship.

When deciding to create this fund, Kientz reached out to her peers in the academic community to ask for examples of ways to support students during this time. “I saw numerous comments from people who have seen emergency funds like this make the difference between students staying afloat and having to drop out of school,” she said. “Students who cannot make a rent payment may struggle with housing security, or one unpaid bill can begin to collect fee upon fee, quickly making payment completely unattainable.” Given the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency aid became crucial to help students remain in HCDE.

In a recent survey of HCDE students, 37% reported being “often” or “very often” worried about finances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the contribution of numerous donors, every student requesting aid this academic year has received funds to address emergent situations, such as unexpected health care costs, car repairs, legal fees, and housing insecurity. The Department thanks everyone who has contributed to the fund so far.HCDE continues to ask that the community support this effort to support students facing near-term financial hardship. To make a contribution to the fund, you can contribute online at or contact Zoë Bartholomew, Assistant Director of Advancement, at

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the already existing inequities across our communities. In HCDE, our students of color and low-income students have also been disproportionately affected. your donation to the HCDE Emergency Student Support Fund plays a critical role in relieving financial burdens before they compound, giving students the freedom to focus more attention on their education.
— Julie Kientz, HCDE Professor & Chair

Support HCDE students facing financial hardship by making a donation to the HCDE Emergency Support Fund. Donate online at: