Advocating for Emergency Aid in Texas
When: Next Meeting 04/27/2018 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Where: Via Skype
Nationally, nearly 3 million students leave college annually because of small, emergency expenses they can’t meet.* “Students pursuing a college degree are sometimes derailed by a temporary financial emergency, such as the loss of a job or an unexpected increase in rent, which may cause them to leave school without earning a credential. For students who have few resources to fall back on, not having the money to fill up the gas tank or replace a stolen bicycle can mean the difference between getting to class and dropping out.” †
To help move the state toward meeting the goals of the higher education plan, 60x30TX, Texas is primed for understanding the benefits and impact emergency aid programs have on student persistence and completion. The Texas Emergency Aid Network (EA Net) is currently identifying strategies and best practices that help promote policies and processes for effective emergency aid and financial literacy programs in Texas.
The Advocating for Emergency Aid in Texas project consists of four phases. The first phase began with a survey to develop a better understanding of emergency aid practices at institutions of higher education (IHE) in Texas. The survey was sent to all 2- and 4-year, public and private IHEs in Texas, and our response rate was 80 percent.
Phase two, the Network Launch, was completed after the initial landscape analysis. The THECB invited 10 Texas public higher education institutions with emergency aid programs to participate in the Emergency Aid Network (EA Net). Through a series of meetings, both in person and online through Skype, each institution’s “EA Net team” shares information about approaches and model practices that have the potential to increase institutions’ graduation and retention goals.
We are currently in the third phase of the project, developing the EA Net’s best practices and policy recommendations. On September 10 -11, the EA Net will host a convening in Austin, TX, inviting all institutions statewide to attend. Goals of the convening will be to:
•share best practices in emergency aid and financial literacy;
•provide a draft of recommendations;
•give other institutions an opportunity to provide input on the recommendations prior to finalization; and
•invite institutions to apply for mini-grants to enhance their existing programs to better reflect best practices.
In the fourth and final phase of the project, the EA Net will make presentations to the board of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The board of the THECB will be asked to consider any EA Net policy recommendations as a standing item on the THECB’s legislative and government relations briefings.
For additional information on the EA Net project, please contact Program Coordinator Monique Lee Whitley at 512-427-6584 or Monique.LeeWhitley@thecb.state.tx.us.
*Based on information from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2016.
†Ratledge, Alyssa, “Emergency Financial Aid Programs," August 08, 2012, www2.ed.gov/.../emergency-financial-aid-programs.pdf, March 19, 2018.