Published: March 27, 2024

Students doing yoga

When in college, students can encounter challenges that often disrupt their academic journey and well-being. Financial constraints, especially during difficult situations, can be a significant barrier. With some students already facing inequities, having access to those financial resources can be the break that they need to succeed. 

Hannah (name changed for privacy) was one of those students. She was looking for a way to boost her self-esteem in summer 2023 by focusing on her well-being. Faced with financial challenges, she was struggling to find the resources to support her mental and physical health. 

“It was at a time in my life when I was feeling so low confidence,” reflected Hannah. “I wanted to start working on my health again and obviously a big part of that is going to the gym. But I was struggling financially and definitely couldn’t afford a gym membership, and honestly, couldn’t even afford the summer fees.” 

CU Boulder, through the Division of Student Affairs and Health & Wellness Services, offers several support funds designed to help students like Hannah during these difficult periods. The purpose of the financial assistance programs is to take some of the burden off students so that they can concentrate on their classes and health. 

One of those funds is Recreation Services’ You Belong Here Fund. Understanding that the additional costs of some programs can be difficult for students to afford, this campaign provides financial assistance for students to access and participate fully in Rec Center activities.  

This was the fund that changed Hannah’s summer. She found it online after searching for ways to support her health and fitness goals. 

“I was so relieved,” said Hannah. “Getting those [summer fees] waived and being able to work out throughout the summer without worrying financially was amazing. I got back into my groove of focusing on my health. So, without this fund, I wouldn’t be where I am now in my health journey.” 

CU Boulder’s commitment extends beyond physical well-being. Programs such as the Student Emergency Fund and the Victim Support Fund also help the community financially through emergency situations and traumatic events. 

The Office of Victims Assistance (OVA) created the Victim Support Fund to fill any gaps following traumatic events such as discrimination, harassment, assaults, intimate partner abuse and others. Traditional routes to getting financial support can have barriers, so the Victims Support Fund aims to break down those walls. 

“There are some federal, state and local funds available, but we know not everyone is eligible for those funds,” explained OVA Director Jessica Ladd-Webert. “A lot of those funds involve people reporting to a specific office, usually law enforcement, and some survivors do not want to do that. Our fund does not require reporting.” 

Ladd-Webert added, “This fund also acknowledges that there are additional, sometimes financial burdens when people have experienced traumatic, criminal or abusive violent events. I'm glad that we can offer something to help decrease any barriers to making someone feel safer.” 

The Victim Support Fund can provide financial assistance to CU Boulder affiliates including students, faculty and staff. The availability of this fund is more crucial than ever, since the state’s Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding, which helps fund more than 200 victim assistance programs in Colorado, has been decreasing over the past several years.  

“We wanted to build something that’s specific for CU Boulder,” said Ladd-Webert. “We are giving our community some more options as they move forward and heal from what's happening.” 

Nearly a year after her health-focused summer, Hannah said she is still thankful to have learned about these financial assistance resources. She explained that this financial support really matters to students–they need it and should not feel afraid to use it. 

“Honestly, in this day-and-age, there are so many resources like this, especially at CU,” said Hannah. “You just need to look a bit or ask. You should never have something stopping you money-wise if you really need it or believe in it. One way or another, there is a way!” 

Additional financial support funds and resources from the Division of Student Affairs and Health & Wellness include: