Strengthening the Efficacy of On-Campus Employment and Emergency Resources, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

By Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff
While emergency aid programs are not new to higher education, they are growing in number as institutions work to respond to increasing need from students. During a session Tuesday morning, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) presented findings from a survey of institutions who have emergency aid programs, which focused on common factors of successful programs. 
According to NASPA, institutions are increasingly taking a holistic approach to providing emergency assistance, including food banks, housing assistance, legal and text assistance, child care resources, and assistance with applying for public benefits. Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents said they serve all students who request emergency aid.
The survey found that:
  • Over 70 percent of institutions from most sectors and institutions sizes have an emergency aid program;
  • Over 80 percent of institutions with an emergency aid program have had it for three or more years and offer six types of emergency aid, including completion scholarships, food pantries, and vouchers for books and transportation needs;
  • Food pantries are the second leading type of emergency aid provided at 2- and 4-year public institutions;
  • Emergency loans and restricted grants are largest type of aid provided at private institutions;
  • Word of mouth is still the most common way students find out about programs and assistance on their campuses;
  • A majority if institutions are not using data to proactively identify students who might benefit from emergency assistance; and
  • A lack of financial resources is the leading barrier to serving more students, with the main source of funding for these programs coming from a university foundation and individual donors.
The survey also identified five areas for improvement when it comes to emergency aid programs:
  1. There needs to be a common language to describe and discuss emergency aid;
  2. More campus compliance guidelines—not federal guidance—are needed for the administration of emergency aid programs;
  3. Develop a set of procedures to guide the development of new and existing programs;
  4. Better use of data to identity students and assess effect of programs on student success; and
  5. More automated processing to better serve students quickly and effectively.
During the session, attendees heard from two campuses—the University of Massachusetts-Boston and the University of South Carolina (USC)—about their emergency aid programs, as well as how they are rethinking student employment as a way to help students succeed.
At USC, they have been working on a comprehensive student record that includes data on student employment that is related to their education, but not eligible for course credit. In Fall 2016, USC had 2,700 part-time, undergraduate student employees and 407 were Federal Work-Study recipients. They are now beginning to develop guidelines to improve student employment so that it has a higher impact on student success, and to give them skills they can use in careers after college. 


Publication Date: 6/27/2017

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