Fund established to provide relief to Lab families challenged by pandemic

Grace Holleb, Reporter

Changing financial circumstances facing Laboratory Schools families have created challenges for the admissions and financial aid team to determine the best ways to support those in need of financial assistance for the 2020-21 school year, but a new fund is intended to help.

More than 30 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as of April 30, and the filing deadline for federal and Illinois income tax returns was extended from April 15 to July 15.

The financial aid committee has a system in place to try and capture these issues on a form, once families have reached out to them. 

“When it comes to taxes, we are still encouraging those families who can to complete their financial aid on time,” Irene Reed, executive director of admissions and financial aid, said. “If they cannot, we are asking them to let us know, and we’re going to work with them.”

The financial aid committee is meeting regularly to discuss each case, according to Ms. Reed. 

When it comes to taxes, we are still encouraging those families who can to complete their financial aid on time.”

— Irene Reed, executive director of admissions and financial aid

The Lab Community Response Fund was established in April to help students and families being challenged financially during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Building on a $25,000 gift, we are working to further harness the power of philanthropy in our community,” according to an email sent to the Lab community members who have already financially supported Lab this year from Damon Cates, executive director of alumni relations and development. 

According to Ms. Reed, the financial aid committee expects more people will need financial aid than usual next year, so they are trying to ensure they have more funds available. 

“We are watching enrollment very carefully and trying to anticipate what we might need to do in the next few months,” Ms. Reed said. 

The financial aid committee is focusing on cases for next school year, but Ms. Reed thinks with so much economic instability, it may take awhile to resume the committee’s standard process. 

“Right now, we are being responsive and thinking hard about what kind of financial aid we might need for next year,” Ms. Reed said. “We are thoughtful about what might happen in the future.”