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A little bit of help goes a long way

Crystal Kooijman found herself in a tough spot when COVID-19 hit the country – she lost her job, and was suddenly home-schooling two kids with a toddler tucked under one arm.
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While determined to continue her University of Southern Queensland Human Services degree, the situation worsened when the family computer broke down.

“The stress of the situation kept growing – we couldn't afford to replace it and the kids needed my old laptop for their studies,” Crystal said.

“I didn’t have the resources or time for my own study and was really freaking out that I would fall behind.”

Crystal was one of more than a thousand University of Southern Queensland students supported through the University’s multi-million dollar USQ Student Support Package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For her and her family, a new laptop was a godsend.

“When the lady on the phone said it was mine - gosh, I was so shocked and so grateful,” Crystal said.

“I have kept it on the kitchen table and fit study into the spare moments - it helped me stay on track and not feel so overwhelmed.

“I really cannot speak highly enough of the support offered by USQ at this time and I am forever grateful.”

The global pandemic created unprecedented circumstances for every Australian, including significant challenges and disruptions to students.

University of Southern Queensland Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) Professor Josh Pienaar said the impact was felt across all levels of the student community.

“Our USQ Student Support Package directly helped students both domestic and international, part-time and full-time, undergraduate and postgraduate,” Professor Pienaar said.

“It is our ongoing duty and honour to help each student achieve their career aspirations for the future.

“We’re incredibly proud of the resilience of all students this year, and look forward to continuing their education journeys together in 2021.”

woman on laptop
“I really cannot speak highly enough of the support offered by USQ at this time and I am forever grateful."