Each year, millions of postsecondary students’ success is threatened by unexpected financial hardships of just $500. Emergency Aid (EA) has proven a cost-effective way to improve persistence, retention, and completion, as well as equity, inclusion, and students’ sense of belonging. In this session, Monica Pohlmann from Reos Partners introduced the EA Roadmap, an online program institutions can use to set up and facilitate their emergency aid program, and Francisco Valines of Florida International University and Tim Wold from the University of Washington spoke to the on-campus challenges emergency aid programs can face, and how to overcome them.
Pohlmann explained that over 70% of institutions offer some form of emergency aid but that aid is given out on a case by case basis, and often have various offices with different policies. The EA Roadmap facilitates conversations between all involved offices on campuses, and centralizes all the grant aid that can be used to support students who need immediate help with costs. By creating a centralized system for disseminating emergency aid, institutions are able to better serve these students, by removing duplicative processes and making sure the messaging is consistent from office to office.
Wold started his presentation by asking the audience how many institutions have some sort of emergency aid program, with nearly 90% of the audience raising their hands he continued with questions to show how varied emergency aid programs are, from some schools requiring applications, some that have caps on the aid a student can receive, and some that require just a conversation with a student.
Valines talked about his own experiences in championing Florida International University's emergency aid program. Valines knew that having the support of the entire university was going to be instrumental in making sure the program not only got off the ground, but was able to be successful in the long run. This included collaboration with many different offices as well as direct support from his provost. Valines said that one of the things he appreciates most from his experience is learning how to solve problems in new and innovative ways.
Wold said that through the EA Roadmap process he found that, “one of the benefits is the cross campus collaboration and changing the story of the financial aid office. I heard from people who worked on our campus that they didn't know that we offered short term loans, or even helped students. We were able to tell the story of office, the story of how we help students.”
Note: This session was livestreamed for NASFAA Live and was also recorded. In early July, this session will be made available for on-demand viewing for all registered attendees, both on-site and NASFAA Live registrants. Watch Today's News and your email for a notification when they are available.
Publication Date: 6/26/2019