The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) will invest $100,000 in Believe in Students, a national nonprofit organization that tackles financial insecurity among college students. AFT's funding supports the FAST Fund, or Faculty and Students Together, an emergency aid program at 30 colleges and universities that is run by faculty.
"The faculty members involved in the FAST Fund see their students struggling, and they want to help," said Traci Kirtley, executive director of Believe in Students. "This investment by the AFT demonstrates the deep commitment of educators to help their students succeed."
With 1.7 million members, AFT is one of the largest teacher's labor unions in the U.S.
AFT's investment in Believe in Students will go towards matching grants at 14 union-affiliated FAST Fund sites, seed funding to start five new FAST Fund sites, and increased technical as well as logistical aid.
"College students are consistently burdened by the financial means required to keep up with their studies—and COVID-19 has only increased those stressors," said Randi Weingarten, president of AFT. "All too often, students have to give up on their dreams of a better future simply because they can't afford it."
Since FAST Fund began in 2016, it has financially helped more than 10,000 students, who may use their grant money to meet a range of basic needs, such as purchasing a new computer, buying groceries, or affording child care.