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Contact: Debra Dennis
214-378-1851; ddennis@dcccd.edu

For immediate release — Oct. 24, 2019

(DALLAS) — Almost 24,000 Dallas County Community College District students live in poverty. Any emergency or natural disaster could wipe out their funds and threaten their chance of graduating from college or obtaining a certificate.

DCCCD is working to remove those financial barriers with the launch of a pilot program called the Emergency Aid Fund. The district has formed a partnership with Edquity, a Brooklyn-based educational finance support and emergency aid company, to provide the service to full-time DCCCD students.

Students apply for emergency funds using the mobile app or website, and they can receive cash grant assistance within 48 hours. The pilot program will run through January, and thereafter, it will expand to include all students.

"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," said Dr. Joe May, DCCCD's chancellor. "We know that we need to create a culture of caring that meets our students 'where they are.'"

DCCCD has made great strides in providing support for students by equipping them with free DART passes, free tuition and assistance from the North Texas Food Bank/DCCCD Mobile Food Pantry. The emergency aid assistance is one more way that DCCCD is working to develop resources that will assist students in completing their degrees or obtaining a certificate.

"Everyone has financial emergencies," said Dr. Chemene Crawford, the district's associate vice chancellor for student resources. "For students who are trying to make ends meet while improving their lives via higher education, these emergencies could mean a delay in completing college or not completing college at all."

The Emergency Aid Fund is made possible by the DCCCD Foundation. It is available to students enrolled in any of DCCCD's seven colleges, who are taking a minimum of 12 credit hours.

"This fund will assist DCCCD students who are on the verge of suspending their educational pursuits when financial emergencies arise," said Dr. Pyeper Wilkins, chief advancement officer and executive director of the DCCCD Foundation. "Because our students often struggle with financial issues, we're tremendously excited to launch this innovative partnership and solution with Edquity that will allow us to remove some of the financial barriers that can impede our students' educational pursuits," Wilkins said

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, chief strategy officer of emergency aid at Edquity, believes advocating for students includes recognizing the importance of success and equity. It also means recognizing the financial struggles that upend some college careers.

"DCCCD students are investing their time, effort and money in pursuing educations that will transform generations," said Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher education and sociology at Temple University. "With Edquity and DCCCD's partnership to provide quick, non-judgmental assistance at the touch of a button, students will be far more likely to stay on track."

According to a study of DCCCD students by the Wisconsin Hope Lab, 55% of students cannot afford to eat balanced meals and 46% have experienced some type of housing insecurity. As a result, many students need financial assistance.

To apply, students should download the Edquity app (visit bit.ly/get-edquity) or go to the website: app.edquity.co. Edquity will review the application and determine if the student qualifies. If a student qualifies, they receive cash grant assistance within 48 hours. Students also are offered an index of emergency resources and a budgeting tool to help preempt potential challenges.

For more information, contact Valerie Cavazos, marketing director of the DCCCD Foundation, at 214-378-1592 or by email at vcavazos@dcccd.edu or visit foundation.dcccd.edu.

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