Dillard receives $110,000 from the Mellon Foundation in response to Covid-19 pandemic

Dillard University mass communication students

Dillard mass communication students work on a class project. Photo: Sabree Hill/Dillard University.

For Immediate Release
May 21, 2020

— The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Dillard University $110,000 in emergency funds in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The grant will support the University’s enrollment stabilization efforts and emergency student needs via the Student Assistance for Financial Emergencies (SAFE) Fund. “The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been a Dillard supporter for more than a decade.  In the past, the foundation has provided funding to support faculty enhancement opportunities, general education, and the honors program,” Dr. Yolanda Page, vice president for Academic Affairs shared in the statement. “In June 2019 we received a grant of $500,000 to renew support for the expansion of our faculty development offerings and a revision of our general education curriculum.” 

Capped at $1,000 per student, the grant will be divided and given to students who are expected to stay enrolled at the University. The money will help students with technology needs, overdue tuition,  residential bills, and transportation. Students can also use the funds towards hardships that affect their academic futures. Covid-19 has proven to be both a health and economic crisis that directly impacts Dillard students and their families. Many students have reported having sick family members, familial income lost, or themselves losing jobs/ internships, and other funding that sustains their wellbeing and education. 

New Orleans’ economy is heavily based on tourism and the University has observed how the pandemic has plummeted the city's financial state and increased unemployment rates. The damages to the city’s economy have been significant and impacted 65 percent of Dillard undergraduates who are Louisiana residents. Half of that percentage are residents of the New Orleans metropolitan area. Dr. Marc Barnes, vice president of Institutional Advancement believes the grant will assist students and their families as they navigate the trying times of the pandemic. “We are grateful for this support as the Dillard community steers through the challenges of Covid-19,” he shared. “These funds will help students prepare for the University’s new normal.” 

Funding from the Mellon Foundation will be dispersed within 12 months of receiving the funds. Mellon funds will not be used to reimburse expenses that have already been paid or to replace or supplement existing financial aid and will not be included in calculations for future financial aid. These funds will not be considered a loan to students nor would the students be required to pay back these funds. Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seeks to strengthen, promote, and defend the centrality of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse, fair, and democratic societies. To this end, our core programs support exemplary and inspiring institutions of higher education and culture. 

The Dillard University SAFE Fund was established in 2013 to help students on the verge of dropping out of the University because they could not pay their outstanding balances. Since its inception, the SAFE Fund has helped over 765 students to remain enrolled and graduate from Dillard. 


Dillard University, located in New Orleans at 2601 Gentilly Blvd., is a private four-year liberal arts historically black institution with a history dating back to 1869. For more information, please visit www.dillard.edu. Also, follow us on Twitter, Facebook @DU1869 and Instagram: Dillard University.

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