Scaling Emergency Aid During the Pandemic: Community Colleges Reflect on Lessons from CARES

The evidence is clear- enrollment and retention are falling, financial precarity is a key cause, and emergency aid can help blunt the impact. The CARES Act was helpful in providing billions in federal dollars for emergency aid for the very first time, though federal implementation could have been more responsive. The most recent relief package and omnibus funding bill allocated about $22 billion specifically for higher education, $6 billion of which must go to provide emergency aid assistance for students.

To be effective, emergency aid must be equitably delivered and distributed. This involves proper outreach, an easy and accurate application process, equitable decisioning, and quick fund delivery. These are things colleges can often manage for dozens of students at a time, but when asked to do this at scale— as with CARES dollars— it can be very challenging.

With new federal dollars flowing to higher education institutions we must focus on how to distribute and scale emergency aid for students who continue to suffer from the pandemic.

Thank you for joining us for a special webinar on how to prepare, including lessons from community college leaders around the country and evidence from The Hope Center’s latest research.


  • Keith Curry, President of Compton College
  • Russell Lowery-Hart, President of Amarillo College
  • Pyeper Wilkins, Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Advancement at Dallas College
  • DeRionne Pollard, President of Montgomery College
  • Carrie R. Welton, Director of Policy & Advocacy of The Hope Center
  • Paula Umaña, Director of Institutional Transformation of The Hope Center
  • Sara Goldrick-Rab, President and Founder of The Hope Center