In June, the Edquity team attended the 2022 NASPA Conferences, conversing with student affairs professionals on factors affecting emergency aid and first-generation student success. Higher-ed panelists presented sessions on topics ranging from the importance of evidence-based storytelling to public policy updates affecting the higher education landscape. Here are four key takeaways from our time in Baltimore, Maryland.
Providing students with emergency aid can help institution retention rates.
Edquity’s VP of Partnerships Larry Hogan and Believe in Student’s Executive Director Traci Kirtley had the opportunity to share how emergency aid affects retention using insights from their partnership with Compton College (view the full presentation here). Data from emergency aid programs shows that emergency aid grants play a significant role in student retention. According to the data, students who received emergency aid at Compton College were twice as likely to graduate as their peers who did not receive assistance.
Funding emergency aid programs requires strategy and cross-departmental collaboration.
Emergency aid programs should be a joint effort between key stakeholders, campus departments, and students. To launch a successful emergency aid program, institutions should develop a strategic fundraising plan, working with leadership to align fundraising goals with the institution’s overarching strategic plan. Leveraging existing campus programs and developing cross-departmental marketing strategies could also benefit expanded communication efforts.
Basic needs programs go underutilized due to a lack of student awareness.
Many campuses already provide basic needs programs for students, such as food pantries and access to emergency housing. However, a lack of student-facing communication causes many of these programs to go underutilized. To bolster the utilization of these programs, student affairs professionals need to meet students where they are, developing communication strategies that appeal directly to the students experiencing vulnerable moments.
Looking ahead: navigating emergency aid and student loans
The Biden Administration has relieved over $25B in loans since 2021 and has paused student loan payments through August 31st. However, how will student loans affect emergency aid beginning September 1st? Institutions may need to prepare for an increased need for emergency aid funding as students navigate loan payment obligations and basic needs.
Connect with us today to learn more about building an equity-centered, outcomes-focused emergency aid program at your institution.