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News & Press: Announcements

Emergency Grants: More Important Than Ever

Tuesday, October 13, 2020  

As the world of higher education deals with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, students’ need for support is rapidly evolving. While paying for tuition is still the top concern for a majority of college students, the need for alternative supports has never been greater. At Scholarship America, we’re working to build emergency grants into the wider ecosystem of student support. Join our #NSPA2020 session tomorrow to learn about tax implications of emergency grants, or on Friday for a deep dive into one of our partnerships. Or keep reading to learn more!

The new challenges students are facing during the pandemic frequently come in the form of unexpected financial setbacks. A car stops working, a medical scare happens, a student or parent loses work, a utility bill increases – these sudden costs can be the last straw for a struggling student. Before COVID-19, more than a third of college students reported housing and/or food insecurity — and that number is likely to go up significantly as campuses remain closed or reduce services.

For the millions of students facing these and similar issues, emergency grants can be a vital lifeline. A small grant at the right time, delivered as part of a full-spectrum system of support, can make the difference between dropping out and moving on.

That’s why Scholarship America has been working to deliver emergency grants for 15 years, and it’s why we are building new ways for scholarship providers to incorporate them into new or existing programs. The average Scholarship America emergency grant amount of $741 may not seem like a life- changing dollar amount—but emergency grant recipients are three times more likely to stay in school due to this financial assistance. 95% of Scholarship America emergency grant recipients complete the term they are enrolled in and 88% enroll the next term.

In developing the next phase of our emergency grant program, we partnered with Achieve Atlanta to pilot a community-focused emergency grant program. That program grew exponentially when COVID-19 struck; between Achieve Atlanta’s community activation and fundraising, and Scholarship America’s processing and disbursement expertise, we were able to provide nearly $150,000 in additional emergency grants, giving hundreds of students one less thing to worry about.

Today, we’re working to build even more innovative solutions that combine emergency grants with a broad array of student supports, from scholarships to food banks. Visit our website to learn more.


Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support!

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