In response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the economy and job market, GameAbove announced its Alumni Pay-it-Forward fund for EMU April 2020 graduates and Fall 2020 incoming freshmen.
GameAbove is a group of EMU alumni who have donated over $13 million to EMU in the past six months. The Alumni Pay-it-Forward fund will donate at least $2 million to provide a gift of $599 to April 2020 graduates and a gift of $400 for Fall 2020’s incoming full-time freshmen. No payback is required.
Income tax rules limit GameAbove to individual gifts of $599. Gifts will be deposited into April 2020 graduates’ linked transaction accounts by Friday, May 8.
There are no restrictions or obligations regarding use or eligibility for April 2020 graduates. In order to process the gift, EMU must have the graduate’s social security number and those who have not provided their social security number will be contacted by Student Business Services with instructions.
“GameAbove is hopeful the gifts provide graduates - and next fall's incoming freshmen class - with some needed cash in these uncertain times. We've already heard from many graduates who said this gift came at the right time - that they were facing monetary challenges because of COVID-19.” Denis Wolcott, spokesperson for GameAbove, said in an email to the Echo.
“Perhaps equally important, GameAbove hopes action this provides graduates with the inspiration to pay it forward at some point in their future and to realize the greater Eagle community is large, strong, and supportive,” Wolcott said.
Desmine Robinson is an April 2020 graduate earning a B.S. in Psychology. He plans to enroll in graduate school either at EMU or Oakland University. His main source of income was his job at Forever 21 which is not in operation due to COVID-19.
“I still have to pay my car insurance, my phone bill, my Hulu, my Spotify. You know, if I have to pay an admissions fee if I end up going to [Oakland University]... If I have to register for classes at Eastern, I have to put down a payment for that… I’m not going to spend [the gift] like crazy but I’m going to really, really look at it and see how long I can spread it . . . It was very unexpected and I’m just so grateful for it,” Robinson said.
Another April 2020 graduate, Emily Doyle, earned her degree in Theatre Arts and Communications.
“I had a job lined up at a school but my school is temporarily closed,” Doyle said in an interview with the Echo. “The gift will help me pay my tuition off . . . It’s been really difficult, trying to stay motivated and positive. It’s also been really hard losing [my] last 2 months of school ever.”
An incoming freshman, Stefan Vojvodic, will receive the gift of $400. COVID-19 did not impact his college decision.
“This will help me out because it’s having a positive impact for me paying less on tuition.” Volvodic said. “My concern are the labs. I am a chem major, so that experience is crucial to building more practical skills . . . Also, if online classes continue, there should be less cost on the tuition.” Vojvodic said in an interview with the Echo.
The distribution process for incoming freshmen will be announced at a later date. All April 2020 graduates, including graduate and undergraduate, will receive the gift of $599. April 2020 graduates should contact Student Business Service at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Robinson offered his gratitude for EMU and GameAbove’s response to the situation, “I just want to say thank you to Eastern for doing their best to celebrate us . . . I want to say thank you to GameAbove,” Robinson said. “I want to thank people who are giving positive energy and prayers to this graduating class and just thank you to anyone who’s supporting me . . . and thank you to the essential workers.”