New Project! Emergency Aid During the Pandemic: Improving Equitable Practice and Documenting Impact

Over the past five years, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice has documented that at least one-third of undergraduates experience some form of food or housing insecurity, and at least one in ten experience homelessness. Our latest study shows that these issues are even more prevalent during the pandemic. Without action, the pandemic and its economic effects will only make basic needs insecurity worse, pushing millions of today’s students to the ragged margins of educational opportunity.

Emergency aid is a responsive and flexible tool being implemented at institutions of higher education throughout the nation.  This spring, for the first time, Congress invested more than $6B in emergency aid via the Cares Act. Experience in the field offers insight on how to design and deploy emergency aid programs, including streamlining application processes, delivery to students, and setting clear and equitable decision criteria.  But more evidence is needed to build knowledge about how institutions are deploying their emergency aid programs – and the results they are getting for students.

That is why the Hope Center is embarking on a new project to advance understanding and evidence for effective and equitable distribution of emergency aid. This new effort, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will engage at least 100 colleges and universities, assisting them in codifying processes so they can more equitably, and more efficiently administer emergency aid and ensure student success.

All institutions participating in the project will receive a detailed look at their students’ experiences with basic needs insecurity and emergency aid, and learn from how institutions around the country do this important work. Critically, we will examine which practices are most closely associated with higher rates of utilization of emergency aid and signs of academic success.

Learn more on the project webpage and consider enrolling your college or university now. The deadline is July 17!