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Inside Benedict College’s effort to get more than 100 struggling students home amid COVID-19 outbreak

When South Carolina’s governor ordered all public schools closed in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Benedict College administrators had already started to prepare for a potential closure. Benedict, a small historically black private liberal arts college in Columbia, has a student population of just over 2,000. When the school decided to close, there were still hundreds of cash-strapped students on campus, many of whom were wondering how to get home to their families until Benedict president Roslyn Artis and her team helped more than 100 domestic and international students go home.

“We moved quickly,” said Artis. “My team…clarified the plan and began to execute almost immediately.”

Artis’ team began by notifying the university’s board of trustees about what a college closure would mean for Benedict. According to Benedict administrators, 74% of their students are the first person in their family to attend college, and 84% are Pell grant-dependent, meaning that without this financial aid they wouldn’t be able to afford to attend college.


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