A $157,500 grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates will help low-income students enrolled at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith continue their education when faced with financial emergencies.
UAFS was one of 32 colleges and universities to receive the Dash Emergency Grant, through which UAFS will integrate emergency grants into its student success strategy to help students persist to graduation.
For low-income students, unexpected expenses – even when they’re as small as a flat tire – can quickly drain an already-strained bank account, which can force students to withdraw from college. Through this grant, students can apply for funds to assist them with financial emergencies and will receive the award within a matter of days if they meet the qualifying criteria. The maximum a student can be awarded is $1,000. UAFS will begin awarding emergency funds to students this fall.
Dr. Georgia Hale, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the university was honored to be one of the first four-year institutions to be awarded the Dash Emergency Grant.
“Five hundred dollars or less can often mean the difference between whether a student completes a semester of school or drops out,” Hale said. “This grant will allow us to help students who find themselves in emergency situations stay in college and graduate. The number one initiative in our new strategic plan deals with increasing student retention and graduation rates. The student support available through the Dash Emergency Grant will help us achieve this goal.”
The grant is the second UAFS has received from Great Lakes within the last 12 months. In November, UAFS announced it received nearly $200,000 from the organization to help retain and graduate students studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the university.
Great Lakes is a nonprofit organization established in 1967 to help students nationwide prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, Great Lakes has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to more than eight million borrowers, as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. Its earnings support one of the largest and most respected educational philanthropy programs in the country.
Since 2006, Great Lakes has committed more than $172 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low-income students and first-generation students. For additional information about Great Lakes, visit www.home.mygreatlakes.org.