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Great Lakes Awards $7.2 Million to Launch Emergency Grant Programs at Four-Year Colleges

32 colleges will help low-income students overcome financial barriers to graduation

—Unexpected expenses like a flat tire or root canal are more than just a headache for low-income college students. Financial emergencies can quickly drain an already strained bank account, and all too often, these students are forced to withdraw from college.

To help more low-income students stay enrolled despite financial emergencies, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates has awarded $7.2 million in Dash Emergency Grants to 32 colleges and universities in six states. The colleges will integrate emergency grant programs into their overall student success strategy with the goal of increasing retention and completion rates.

Great Lakes funds will leverage an additional contribution from its college partners, meaning the total impact will be $7.7 million in emergency grants available to low-income students. By quickly delivering modest grants—typically less than $1,000—for transportation, housing, medical, child care and other costs, colleges will help their students stay on track to graduation.

This new Dash Emergency Grant is an expansion of a successful program Great Lakes created for two-year colleges. Since 2012, Great Lakes has committed $3 million to 37 two-year colleges to operate emergency grant programs. These colleges report students who receive emergency grants stay in school at better rates and graduate in larger numbers.

"We're pleased to extend our emergency grant program to four-year colleges dedicated to helping low-income students overcome financial obstacles," said Richard D. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Lakes. "In addition to helping more students progress to degree completion, we look forward to learning the nuances between programs at two-year and four-year colleges and sharing that knowledge with other institutions looking to establish emergency grant programs."

During a three-month planning period, colleges will get their emergency grant programs up and running, including informing faculty and staff about the new program; developing collaborative processes between Student Services, Financial Aid and Bursar's offices; training staff to use an online application and reporting system; and promoting the emergency grant program to students. Colleges will begin making emergency grants in fall 2017.

Meet our 2017-2019 Dash Emergency Grant Recipients


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