The Dallas County Community College District has announced a partnership with Brooklyn-based student financial success and emergency aid company Edquity. The organizations are launching a mobile app that allows students to apply for and receive emergency grants in less than 48 hours.
“DCCCD’s mission is to prepare students of all ages, from all walks of life, who represent the diversity of our community, to become productive and responsible citizens,” Dr. Joe May, Chancellor of Dallas County Community College District, said in a statement. “We know that to do this, we need to create a culture of caring that meets our students ‘where they are.’”
Through the app, students—including 24,000 living in poverty—will be able to tap into the DCCCD Foundation’s $400,000 emergency aid fund. Emergency funds are available to students for reasons such as food or housing insecurity.
Edquity’s mobile app platform has already proven effective. It went live just three days after 10 tornadoes struck the Dallas area on October 20 and successfully processed more than 100 applications within the first hour and over 250 in the first week. The platform also proved its efficiency with the average emergency aid application completed in under five minutes, the average application processed in under 24 hours, and the average fund disbursement within 48 hours, according to a statement.
Out of the initial group of emergency aid applications, 75 percent experienced housing insecurity (34 percent experiencing homelessness), 53 percent experienced food challenges, and 50 percent had children (30 percent had a child under five). Every student who received aid reported the grant improved their odds of staying in college, according to a statement. More than $70,000 was distributed in assistance to students, reported Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, a Temple University professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology, in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Edquity app is based on research conducted in Dallas by Goldrick-Rab who is also overseeing the launch of the partnership between DCCCD and Edquity. She said the technology will help students handle the “new economics of college” and help the district overcome common challenges impacting emergency aid programs across the U.S., according to a statement.
“This partnership is going to provide a model for how higher education should look to deliver emergency assistance to students—in a manner that is fast, data-driven, effective, and also emblematic of a broader culture of caring,” said Goldrick-Rab in a statement.
The app is available to a limited group of students across all seven DCCCD colleges enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits in a pilot test and is expected to roll out to all students in 2020. Edquity will also be rolling out its app to postsecondary institutions nationwide.
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