UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

There When Emergency “Rain” Falls

120110Feature_ELFWhen the poet Longfellow wrote, “Into each life a little rain must fall,” he probably wasn’t envisioning the kind of precipitation that comes in the form of, say, a burst water heater, car repairs, medical or dental expenses, or just plain bills – all of which need to be paid.

UNCG has a remedy for those financial bombshells in its Emergency Loan Fund (ELF), which was created over a decade ago with funds donated by UNCG employees. The fund is there to assist our colleagues with help when they face a short-term financial crisis.

“It is a way of giving a ‘hand up,’ not a ‘hand out’ to those in the UNCG family who have unforeseen financial emergencies,” said Betty Betts of Human Resource Services, who administers the fund and processes the loan applications.

About 100 loans are made each year from the ELF’s $55,850 principal. All loans are interest-free (that’s right, no interest) and are paid back monthly through payroll deduction. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is $500, and Betts says most of the loans are for that amount. Recent stats show the number of loans has grown steadily, more than doubling from 48 in 2003-04 to 118 in 2008-09 and 116 in 2009-10. Loans are available to both staff and faculty.

Employees’ needs are spelled out in these statements, drawn from their applications: “I need help to purchase a bus ticket so I can go see my (relative) who is not expected to live much longer’; “My washing machine just ‘konked’ out and I don’t have money to purchase a new one”; and “Unexpected car repairs and I need my car to get to work.”

ELF seldom gets requests for year-end, seasonal things like presents or festivities. Initiatives like Staff Senate’s new Angel Tree Project help UNCG families provide for more than just the necessities at holiday time. ELF guidelines, instead, are specific about what the fund can be used for and what constitutes an emergency.

Loans of $250 or less are turned around in two days; applications from $250 to $500 are reviewed by a committee of UNCG employees. Betts processes all of them.

While an employee occasionally leaves UNCG before a loan is repaid, that’s not a problem – the loan balance is taken from the person’s final payout. Full details about ELF are available and you can download the application form.

If you’d like to make a donation to the ELF, gifts are accepted through the Office of Advancement Services, 4-5920.

By Steve Gilliam
Photography from photography archives.