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Overview of Colleges' Use of Emergency Aid

July 6, 2016
 

A growing number of colleges have created student aid programs that direct small amounts of money, sometimes as little as $300, to students who are struggling to pay for tuition or a financial emergency. NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education on Wednesday released a study on emergency aid programs at 523 institutions from various sectors of higher education.

Common forms of such aid include emergency loans, campus vouchers, food pantries and completion scholarships, according to the report. Most of the emergency aid programs (82 percent) have been in place for at least three years. But colleges tend not to advertise emergency aid beyond word of mouth, according to NASPA, and the need for such programs outstrips available funds. The study included five suggestions for improving the administration and impact of emergency aid:

  • A common language to describe and discuss emergency aid
  • More policy guidance for administering emergency grants and loans
  • Standardized procedures to guide the development of new and existing programs
  • Improved data usage to identify students who need aid and to assess the effect of programs on student success
  • More automated processing of the aid
 
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