Student ARC Launches Collective Action for Emergency Aid

Student ARC Launches Collective Action for Emergency Aid

Student ARC Blog / January 05, 2018
female student blue shirt

Research shows that providing financially distressed students with a small amount of aid, usually less than $1,500, can help these students remain enrolled and progressing toward graduation.

A landscape analysis of emergency aid programs, released in 2016, shows that over 70% of institutions have access to a (limited) resource pool for those students who request support for a small crisis; yet few institutions have a formal program, and of those institutions, most do not have a defined program or practice. The majority of institutions have a program or practice that is ad hoc, undefined, and provides little marketing to students, faculty or staff. The result is that students who do not self-identify, or who do not know a program exists, may drop out of college due to a small, solvable resource need. The landscape analysis gathered information about the varied practices and impressions around emergency aid programs and what comprises a robust program.

The research identified the following components of a fully-developed emergency aid program:



The landscape analysis also uncovered five needs that should be addressed  in order for institutions to strengthen and sustain these effortsin the future:


  1. A common language to describe and discuss emergency aid

  2. More policy guidance for administering emergency grants and loans

  3. Procedures to guide the development of new and existing efforts

  4. Improved use of data to identify students who need aid and to assess the effect of emergency aid effortson student success

  5. More automated processing

Student ARC will facilitate a national imperative around the use of emergency aid as a critical strategy for increasing degree completion for low-income students. The discussions through the Student ARC website will involve key higher education stakeholders that include administrators, funders, researchers, and policymakers. Student ARC will be an online hub for the dissemination of information regarding the efficacy of emergency aid programs, including examples of strong  programs,and strategies for building, sustaining, and  expanding such efforts.

As Student ARC continues to gather insights from professionals and organizations  across the United States, we invite you to share your resources and contribute to the conversation.