On June 7th, Rebecca Kelliher, Staff Writer for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, sat down with Edquity CEO David Helene and Compton College President Keith Curry to discuss the findings from Believe in Student’s recent report on the impact of emergency aid on Compton College’s dual-enrolled students.
Several key insights emerged on how institutions can support dual-enrolled students with access to emergency aid:
Trust-building campaigns are critical when developing messaging for eligible students.
Lack of awareness is often one of the main culprits for students' underuse of emergency aid programs. However, the development of Compton College’s pilot program for dual-enrolled students highlighted the importance of collaboration amongst multiple stakeholders throughout the process to ensure students felt secure and confident in accessing and accepting cash assistance. “The promise of free money from an entity that’s not necessarily their first and foremost institution may seem too good to be true,” noted David Helene, CEO of Edquity. “One of the things we heard time and time again was that when the student acknowledged they heard correspondence across different entities in different directions, they realized that this was not a “scam” but that this [emergency aid] was there to be helpful to them.”
Institutions must consider multiple payment options for dual-enrolled students.
The report notes that the average age of Compton College’s dual-enrollment aid applicants was 16 years old, creating a unique challenge as most minors do not have access to a bank account nor prefer ACH as their primary payment method. As institutions look for ways to replicate this program, alternative payment methods should be at the forefront of most conversations. “Whereas typically we see about 92% of students request a digital payment, “ notes David, “about 50% of [Compton College’s] students needed an alternative means of payment. Thinking about payment optionality and how you serve this demographic in particular is key.”
Having the proper infrastructure to carry out an emergency aid program is essential for longevity and sustained impact.
Through this partnership, Edquity’s platform provided Compton College with a streamlined tool for processing applications and administering aid quickly without straining financial aid office resources. Additionally, Compton College invested in dedicated program staff to support the participating high schools, bolstering staff-to-staff relationships between the college and its dual-enrollment programs. “At the end of the day, dual enrollment students are your students,” says Keith Curry, President of Compton College. “You want to make sure that the program is institutionalized and not a one-time thing for the organization.’”
Exploring funding opportunities in current organization budgets is key to building a sustainable emergency aid and cash assistance program.
While many emergency aid and cash assistance programs are grant-funded, institutions must be able to replicate emergency aid programs internally when grants are depleted. “Budgets are your value statements,” shares Dr. Curry. “If you believe (based on your data) that emergency aid for your students is important, you’re going to figure out a way within your budget to make it happen. And you may have to mix and match to do that.”
Did you miss the webinar? Check out the replay here.
If you are looking for ways to grow or pilot an emergency aid or cash assistance program, Edquity can help. Our platform provides an end-to-end cash administration solution to help governments and institutions prioritize incoming applications, verify and process applicants, pay people quickly, and track outcomes over time.
Connect with us today to learn more about building an equity-centered, outcomes-focused emergency aid program.