NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Edquity, which helps colleges and universities administer emergency aid in a manner that is equitable, effective, and federally compliant, today announced that it distributed more than $50 million in federal emergency aid to more than 60,000 students over the past quarter. On average, students receive funds from Edquity within 24 hours of applying, compared with the national average of 13 days.
"If we've learned anything from the past year, it's that direct cash transfers are one of the most effective ways of combating poverty – whether among college students or anyone facing financial hardship," said Wes Moore, the bestselling author and former Robin Hood Foundation CEO who serves as a member of Edquity's board. "Emerging technology is just one critical piece of the puzzle as we work to build a system that can get every student the financial support they need, when they need it."
The announcement comes in the wake of release of new federal guidance for the $39.6 billion Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III), which governs how higher education institutions must deploy emergency aid to students. Unlike previous COVID relief funding, the new guidance enables institutions to provide funding for non-Title IV students, including DACA recipients and undocumented students, and mandates that institutions cannot discriminate against these groups in their methodology for prioritizing need and administering aid.
"HEERF III presents an unprecedented opportunity for institutions to help more students enroll, persist, and complete their degree. In its inclusion of all students, it allows institutions to focus on the most vulnerable students and negates the idea that FAFSA and Expected Family Contribution data alone are sufficient for prioritizing need, which has guided many institutions' decision-making in the past," said David Helene, Founder and CEO of Edquity. "We're joining forces with institutions across the country to help them navigate the nuances of the federal regulation—and provide students from all backgrounds with the support they need to succeed."
Edquity works with a diverse cross-section of institutions including Dallas College, San Diego Community College District, Southern New Hampshire University, Pierce College and Western Governors University. Through a process rooted in landmark research by Sara Goldrick-Rab – founding director for the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice and the nation's leading expert on the topic of emergency aid and student financial insecurity – Edquity assists these partners in deploying processes and systems to objectively assess students' current financial conditions, equitably prioritize need, and distribute emergency funding in as fast as 24 hours.
In addition to helping colleges and universities comply with federal guidelines and improve the equity and efficacy of emergency aid distribution, Edquity also plays a critical role in boosting student success. Recent research from Compton College indicates that students funded through Edquity were twice as likely to complete their credential.
In the coming months, Edquity is poised to help institutions distribute more than $100 million in Federal emergency aid. Edquity is also helping colleges and universities develop programs funded through non-HEERF sources, including state grants, philanthropic dollars and operating budgets, so they can continue to leverage emergency aid as a student enrollment, persistence and completion tool long after the pandemic subsides.