Despite the effectiveness of emergency aid in helping vulnerable students to graduate, the approach is not well understood or effectively administered. Seventy percent of higher education institutions in the US offer emergency aid; however, few have an established program or methodology to ensure that the aid has maximum impact and reach.
To help address these challenges, Reos Partners has convened the Emergency Aid Lab (EAL). Lab participants — administrators, educators, counselors, students, and other partners from higher education— are collaborating to experiment with and refine multiple initiatives related to “how to” create an effective EA program on campus. The end product will be a digital “playbook” of practitioner-tested guidance that will enable users to move from a set of disconnected, ad-hoc emergency aid activities to a formal, integrated emergency aid program. Social learning will be central in the playbook, allowing users to share ideas and collaborate with peers on campus, across a region, and beyond.
The ultimate goal is a “new normal” in which no student needs to drop out because they don’t have $500 or $1,000 dollars on hand to bridge an unexpected financial need.
On the Verge
Financial costs and challenges go well beyond tuition for lower income students who want to stay in school and succeed.