NICC receives emergency financial support for students through Dash Grant Program

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) and its students will have an additional source of funding to offset potential financial emergencies that they may encounter in the next two and one-half years. A $37,200 grant awarded to the college through Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation’s new Dash Emergency Grant Program will help NICC offer emergency funding to students who also receive Federal Pell Grant assistance.
Community and technical colleges provide a gateway to promising futures for students from diverse backgrounds, many who are older, lower income, working and/or raising families. These students also juggle multiple financial responsibilities, and unforeseen expenses - often less than $500 - that can threaten their ability to stay in college.
NICC received the funding from Great Lakes in part because of the establishment of the Student Crisis Fund at NICC that demonstrates financial commitment to supporting students and the ability to provide a funding match to Great Lakes. As part of the grant, NICC is examining how the college can build the support base for this fund beyond current staff and students, according to Chris Woodson, NICC Associate Dean of Student Services.
“The support generated in the last eight years from the NICC community has been incredible, but we realize there is an even greater need to secure additional emergency funds for students,” emphasized Woodson, who noted that the NICC Student Crisis Fund has benefited from the generous support of faculty, staff and community members in raising over $85,000 from two annual fundraising events, which has been used to assist over 250 students. “We are hoping to continue the strong support base from faculty, staff and students and are looking at ways to build partnerships with other potential donors.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, just 20 percent of full-time students at public two-year institutions earn a degree within three years. Financial emergencies are among the reasons so many students abandon their studies before they complete their degrees or certificates. Colleges can make a difference for these at-risk students by quickly providing small emergency grants to remove economic barriers that stand in the way of completion.
Great Lakes has awarded $1.5 million in Dash grants to 31 colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin that have shown an extraordinary commitment to engaging with students who experience a financial crisis. Proof of this commitment is an institutional investment: each college is providing an escalating cash match for student emergency grants to meet students’ immediate needs and move toward program sustainability.
For more information on the Dash grant aid available for qualifying students, contact Randi Burns, NICC Calmar campus counselor, at 800-728-2256, ext. 378, or; or Kathy Davis, NICC Peosta campus counselor, at 800-728-7367, ext. 215, or Donations to the NICC Student Crisis Fund may be made to NICC Student Crisis Fund, P.O. Box 400, Calmar, IA 52132.