An unexpected car repair or medical bill can be the breaking point for a college student already struggling to make ends meet. All too often, low-income students are forced to drop out of college so they can pay the bill.
New emergency grant programs will soon be available at four Milwaukee colleges to help their students address financial barriers and stay on the path to graduation. Starting this fall, students from low-income backgrounds can apply for grants up to $1,000 to help cover unforeseen expenses related to transportation, housing, medical, child care and other costs. Emergency grants will be paid to third parties—such as a mechanic for an auto repair—within two business days of the student’s request for financial assistance.
The colleges are establishing emergency grant programs with funding provided by Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates. In Milwaukee alone, Great Lakes has awarded nearly $1 million in Dash Emergency Grants to Alverno College ($210,000), Cardinal Stritch University ($67,200), Mount Mary University ($84,000) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ($630,000). A total of $7.2 million in Dash Emergency Grants was awarded to four-year colleges in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Great Lakes has provided funds for two-year colleges to operate emergency grant programs since 2012. These colleges report low-income students who receive emergency grants stay in school at better rates and graduate in larger numbers. Based on this success, Great Lakes has expanded its Dash Emergency Grant to four-year colleges, including Alverno, Cardinal Stritch, Mount Mary and UWM.
“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.”