UNI Focuses Giving Tuesday Initiatives on Student Access and SuccessCEDAR FALLS, Iowa — This Giving Tuesday, the University of Northern Iowa is harnessing the generosity of alumni and friends to support accessible education. UNI prepares students for fulfilling careers, provides engaged learning opportunities that impact our community today and strengthens Iowa for the future. But for some students, a UNI education can hang in jeopardy because of unforeseen or overwhelming circumstances. To keep students on the path to graduation, UNI is asking for support of the following projects:

Student Emergency Fund
The Student Emergency Fund assists UNI students by providing limited emergency financial assistance to currently enrolled students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses due to an unexpected emergency. These situations include accidents, illness, death of a family member, fire damage or the need for temporary housing. Over the last three years, 132 students have received over $61,000 in emergency funds. These crucial funds allow students to maintain the level of education and support they deserve and should expect from UNI. Up to $1,500 in gifts to the Student Emergency Fund will be matched by Bob Sloan, a 1977 alum, and an anonymous Panther from the class of 1989.

Panther Pantry
In 2018, a food insecurities task force found that 16% of students surveyed had food insecurity. To combat the unmet need, a food and necessity pantry was opened on campus. The Panther Pantry has a strong relationship with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank that allows the pantry to purchase all food and necessity items at $0.19 per pound. Since August 2021, 194 students have used the pantry for a total of 503 visits. 1,548 pounds of food has been distributed from the pantry since classes have started this year. Up to $4,000 in gifts to the Panther Pantry will be matched by Sloan.

Panther Completion Grant
Each year, many students will struggle with the reality of juggling life expenses — household rent, transportation and other financial responsibilities. Some of these students aren't able to pay their university bill on time, preventing them from registering for classes or graduating at the end of the semester. Disproportionately, these students come from groups traditionally underserved in higher education, including low-income, first generation and underrepresented minority students. 
UNI is committed to retaining and graduating students. Panther Completion Grants support this goal by providing a concrete way to proactively promote timely graduation for students who might otherwise stop temporarily or leave UNI permanently due to financial barriers. Up to $7,500 in Giving Tuesday gifts toward Panther Completion Grants will be matched by the R.J. McElroy Trust.

Annual Fund
The UNI Annual Fund, UNI’s unrestricted fund, helps support the most immediate needs of the university. The Annual Fund is essential to advancing the university’s educational mission.

Deans’ Funds for Excellence
Students in UNI's four colleges — the College of Business, College of Education, College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, and the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences — engage in undergraduate research and internships, study abroad, travel to conferences and earn professional certifications. Faculty expand their knowledge and skills through professional development. None of this happens without the support of the Deans' Funds for Excellence. Support of these funds give each college the ability to respond to changing industry needs and provide opportunities that set a UNI education apart.

For more information on UNI’s Giving Tuesday initiatives or to give, visit foundation.uni.edu/givingtuesday.