News - Capital University Law School

CapLaw Comes Through for Students Amid COVID-19 Hardship

4/24/2020  - 

In these unprecedented times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Capital University Law School Dean Rachel Janutis is reminding students of the availability of the Dean’s Hardship Fund. The fund provides grants to students in need of financial assistance due to unanticipated circumstances.

“The Dean’s Hardship Fund was established a few years ago through a gift to the Law School by alumnus Robert Weiler,” said Dean Janutis. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have seen a significant increase in students experiencing financial hardship. These include students who have lost jobs, had spouses or partners lose jobs, and have assumed caregiving responsibilities for parents.”

Dean Janutis said funds have been used to pay for basic necessities, including rent, utilities, groceries, and medical expenses. “It has helped students cover the cost of internet services so that they can complete classes now that all law school classes are online,” she said.

Learning about the fund came at just the right time for Ashley Likens, L’20. She said she applied for a grant “hours after I received the email” from Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Marcelius Braxton outlining the application process.

“This fund shows that the Capital community is committed to providing help to students who encounter changes in their financial situation to alleviate some of the stress and allow them to continue to focus on their education,” Likens said. “I plan to use the money to help pay for bills. Rent, electric, water, internet, a cell phone, car insurance, and groceries are all basic responsibilities of an independent student that do not stop in the midst of a crisis or change in circumstances.”

Both Dean Janutis and Likens expressed their appreciation for the generosity of alumni like Weiler, L ‘83, former chair of the Capital University Board of Trustees and the Law School’s Board of Counselors, and Chairman of the Board of The Robert Weiler Company. Dean Janutis said Weiler has long been a supporter of Capital University Law School students. Weiler said he sees an obligation for those who have benefited to pay it forward.

“Those of us who are fortunate to be in a position to help those in need must do so now more than ever,” Weiler said. “I am grateful for my Capital University Law School education, which has helped put me in a position where I am able to give back. I encourage other alumni and friends of CapLaw to do all that they can to help students achieve their dreams of becoming lawyers.”

CapLaw recently received a $25,000 grant from AccessLex, a national non-profit organization that supports legal education, to add to the fund. Dean Janutis anticipates the financial need will continue into the fall and may impact law school graduates as they await sitting for the bar exam. Anyone interested in supporting the fund may find out more about giving to CapLaw by clicking here.

To apply for the grants, students must demonstrate financial hardship and/or the inability to complete their legal education without supplemental support. Applications are typically reviewed and evaluated no later than 7 to 10 business days from submission, according to Assistant Dean Braxton. Students may receive funds by direct deposit from the University. For currently enrolled students interested in applying for a grant, which provides up to $1,000 for students in need, click here.

“We want our students to know that these are trying times for all of us, but we are here to help,” said Dean Janutis. “We want them to continue to pursue their studies, and if we can alleviate some of their financial anxiety, we’re happy to provide assistance.”

Resources Available During COVID-19 Pandemic

In addition to the Dean’s Hardship Fund, there are a number of resources providing aid to students during the COVID-19 public health crisis, including the following.

  • SAGE Scholars is offering up to $250 per student for emergency relief funds. Students may find more information and apply here.

  • Information on economic resources, including unemployment, health insurance relief, and Wi-Fi hotspots, provided by the State of Ohio may be found here.

  • Information on changes to COTA’s service changes may be found here.

  • Information on taking care of your mental health may be found here.

  • For those worried about quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic in a home where they do not feel safe, help is available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24/7/365, at @ndvh on Twitter, or by calling 1-800-799-7233.

  • For folks in recovery or those who need support, please click on the link below offering AA support groups conducted virtually.
    • To comply with social distancing, “Pause a While” will host free conference calls for AA meetings at 2 p.m. every day. You may dial the number 1-425-436-6360, Access Code: 422932#
    • “In the Rooms” is a global recovery community where you can join a meeting from any location. You may find more information here.
  • In addition, Capital University Law School will have access to federal funds through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Sources: Capital University Law School Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Financial Aid.