Coat Fund Expanded to Meet Cold

The Financial Aid Office and FDO provide winter jackets for students with significant need.

Cambridge may be in for one of the coldest winters of this past decade, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center reports, and students were pleased to find out last week that budget cuts at the College have left the annual freshman “coat fund” untouched.

College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds sent 300 freshman an e-mail Thursday—a few days before Sunday’s sudden snowfall—informing them of their eligibility for the annual coat fund, which allows students to purchase or be reimbursed for $100 worth of winter gear.

This figure has not changed since last year, though students were awarded twice the amount in 2007.

“We hope this ‘winter coat grant’ positively contributes to your experience at the College and makes your time in Cambridge a little warmer and happier,” Hammonds wrote in the e-mail.

The unusually cold and snowy weather in store for this winter is caused an abnormally weak El Niño, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean that is can be used to predict weather patterns, according to the National Weather Service’s website. Strong El Niño currents are often correlated with warmer-than-average winters in the New England region.

In the past, the Harvard College Financial Aid Office and the Freshman Dean’s Office set aside these funds primarily for students who come from warmer climate areas, though Financial Aid Director Sally C. Donahue said that all freshmen who demonstrated significant financial need this year were eligible for the program.

Last weekend’s snow flurries caught many by surprise, though temperatures are expected to be back up temporarily in the high 50s to low 60s next week.

“I thought it was really fun, but I wasn’t quite mentally prepared for it yet,” said Stephanie E. Herwatt ’13, a native of Napa, California.

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