Los Angeles, CA — The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) has launched an Emergency Student Aid Campaign, an initiative to help thousands of recession-impacted students at UNCF colleges stay in school. The Campaign has received its first major contribution: a $1 million donation from ExxonMobil. $500,000 of the ExxonMobil gift is effective immediately; the other $500,000 is a challenge grant.

“This Campaign, and the ExxonMobil challenge grant, are a lifeline to all these students,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and CEO of the nation’s largest minority education organization. “These are students who had already started their academic year when the recession hit,” “Now job loss and pay cuts have sharply reduced their families’ ability to contribute to their education, and the credit crunch has squeezed student loans off the market.
Thousands of them are at risk of not being able to finish the semester. Hundreds may not be able to graduate. The Emergency Student Aid Campaign is for them.”

Meeting the ExxonMobil challenge by March 31 will create a fund of $1.5 million, enough to help 500 seniors pay their unpaid balances and graduate. UNCF expects to raise a total of $5 million through individual, corporation and foundation donations in order to help a total of 2,000 students finish the spring semester and enroll for school in the fall.

To make a donation, visit www.uncf.org and click on Emergency Student Aid or call (213) 639-3800 to help keep kids in college.

“Here in Southern California, we’re ready to take the challenge to make sure that kids from the Greater Los Angeles area can pay their tuition, stay in school and graduate,” said UNCF Area Development Director Renita Tyson. More than 1,100 kids from California are studying at UNCF colleges, working for their degrees. We owe it to them, and to all the 55,000 students at UNCF schools, to help them survive the recession and stay in school.”

Since its founding, UNCF has helped 350,000 students earn degrees from its 39 member colleges and universities. Today, 55,000 students attend UNCF member institutions each year.