Mr. Sawyer, who wants to become a pastor, is using his time off to work for civil rights organizations and to fund-raise so that he can re-enroll in the spring and obtain a doctorate in theology. “It’s definitely a delay, but sometimes stumbling blocks come,” he said.
Many students like Mr. Sawyer have been looking for alternative ways to pay for their education. As the coronavirus was closing campuses this past spring, Rise, a student-led organization that advocates college affordability, created an online network to help students find emergency financial aid, apply for public benefits and locate food pantries.
Rise has continued to serve more than 1,000 students a month who have struggled to pay rent, keep jobs and secure internet access, said Max Lubin, the organization’s chief executive. “We’re overwhelmed by the need,” he said.
Stable housing and healthy food were already major concerns before the pandemic. A 2019