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Aid fund for students in financial hardship distributed

17/11/2020

To support students in need, WU Vienna has launched the WU Helps initiative, allowing us to provide 11 students with financial aid.

The job market was massively affected by the spread of the coronavirus in Austria and the associated lockdown measures in the spring, and unemployment numbers have reached an all-time high. One of the groups that have been hit particularly hard by the crisis are students. Many of them do not meet the eligibility criteria for government aid and are left without income. To support students in need, WU Vienna has launched the WU Helps initiative, allowing us to provide 11 students with €1,000 worth of financial aid each.

Regular surveys among WU students show that many have jobs and work at least a few hours per week. But many of these jobs only classify as marginal employment and do not include any unemployment insurance. As a result, these people were not eligible for compensation payments from the state hardship fund.

WU launched aid campaign

“It was very important to us to offer financial support to those students who were left without any income at all. They should not have to worry about whether they can afford to continue with their studies after losing their jobs,” says Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger. To fund the initiative, WU-branded face masks were offered for sale. The WU face masks, made of 100% organic cotton, were produced in Austria by two young entrepreneurs, one of them a WU student. All of the proceeds from the sales went entirely into the fund.

For bachelor’s students lost their jobs

The initiative was aimed at WU bachelor’s students who earned at least 16 ECTS credits in the last academic year, lost their job due to the corona crisis, and were not covered by the government’s COVID-19 aid packages and support measures (e.g. because of marginal employment). 7 women and 4 men met the criteria and were each eligible to receive €1,000 in financial aid.

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