AMS to provide university $200,000 in COVID-19 support

As students have adapted to online learning environments, social distancing and changes to their summer plans, many also face financial hardship.

In response, AMS VP Finance Lucia Liang said at an April 9 council meeting that she was “able to locate $280,000 to support COVID.” However, she later said in a message to The Ubyssey that the amount was $200,000 and that the AMS would consider further contributions as the fiscal year ends.

Liang said the money is intended to relieve stress from students and provide more opportunities to receive money, as many have lost income streams as a result of the pandemic.

“The AMS is always working to support UBC students and during a sensitive time like this, where students are struggling financially, the AMS is looking for every way possible to provide that support,” Liang said in a statement to The Ubyssey.

According to Liang, the $200,000 comes from the society’s general surplus — which was $216,084 for 2019/20 — and leftover money from the AMS Financial Assistance Fund that was not distributed this year.

“Since the AMS is a non-profit organization our surplus does not get carried over the next year, and as a result, we are not impacting our operations heading into the next fiscal year,” said Liang.

Although Liang said the AMS will announce more details “as our plans become finalized,” she stated that the society continues to work with UBC.

“We are currently working with various partners at the University to determine the best method of distributing this support to students and in the most efficient way possible.”

In a statement to The Ubyssey, Kate Ross, associate VP enrolment services & registrar, said the AMS contribution will bring the total emergency bursary support available for both UBC Vancouver and Okanagan to $3.2 million. This includes donor, provincial and UBC central funding, as well as $2 million in tuition revenue.

“We know some students are experiencing financial hardships as [a] result of the impact of COVID-19,” said Ross.

“The university is proud to be working in cooperation with student organizations to collectively respond to those needs as best we can.”

This article has been updated to reflect that the AMS will provide $200,000, not $280,000 as previously stated.