When Care Isn’t Enough: Scaling Emergency Aid During the COVID-19 Pandemic

When Care Isn’t Enough: Scaling Emergency Aid During the COVID-19 Pandemic

When the pandemic devastated communities and college campuses, colleges and universities faced an emergency. For the first time in history, Congress responded by authorizing billions of dollars in emergency aid to quickly alleviate hardships.

This report shows how colleges and universities met the challenge of emergency aid during the pandemic, drawing on a year of surveys and focus groups, fielded and conducted by The Hope Center and DVP-Praxis, that reflect the views of institutional leaders and students from coast to coast. The results offer valuable insights that should shape the future of emergency aid and student support. While the onset of the pandemic was unprecedented, its ongoing health concerns and the looming consequences of climate change ensure that knowing how to deliver emergency aid at scale will be essential to the well-being of future students. With these lessons in mind, we can all be better prepared and ready to respond.

Topics covered include:

  • Why students need emergency aid
  • Connecting students to emergency aid
  • Overview of year-long study of 195,000 students at 202 institutions in 42 states
    • Discusses ways programs varied and lessons learned
    • Outlines typical timeline for aid disbursement
    • Reviews who received aid and who did not, including those students with basic needs insecurity
    • Highlights four institutions that coped with emergency aid delivery in various ways.
  • Recommendations for Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and colleges and universities.

In addition, there is an associated brief on lessons learned for supporting parenting students with emergency aid during the pandemic. This brief includes five lessons for higher education institutions in assisting parenting students with emergency aid in the future. An emergency aid-focused working paper and web appendices will be available in late November 2021.

Brief on the Particular Implications for Parenting Students During the Pandemic

Parenting students have more need for emergency aid and apply more often, but they are not being prioritized for support.
Read our brief for recommendations on supporting parenting students.