The Greater Texas Foundation recently awarded Galveston College a total of $122,500 over a three-year period to be given to students facing unexpected and untimely crises that may prevent them from completing their education.
The $1.5 million Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap grant program will help Galveston College and nine other community colleges across the state develop efficient, equitable, sustainable emergency aid programs to ensure students receive the support they need to persist through financial crises.
“Galveston College was selected to participate in the Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap for demonstrating a strong commitment to student success and a thoughtful approach to meeting students’ needs,” said Leslie Gurrola, director of programs and strategy for the Greater Texas Foundation. “We’re excited to extend the reach and impact of the good work that is already happening here.”
According to a 2020 study done by the Trellis Company, 61 percent of Texas public two-year college students said they would have trouble obtaining $500 in cash or credit to meet an unexpected need within the next month. Fifty-three percent worry about being able to pay their current monthly expenses, and 73 percent have run out of money at least once in the past year.
“Some crises affect entire communities; others are personal,” said Sue McMillin, president and CEO of the Greater Texas Foundation. “Either way, the effects on students can be devastating. The Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap program is designed to help colleges be there for their students no matter what crisis they’re facing.”
In 2019, the Galveston College District Board of Regents and the Galveston College Foundation began working toward assisting students in emergency situations by establishing the Galveston College Emergency Scholarship to help students with unexpected circumstances that may significantly interfere with their ability to attend college.
Other efforts to assist Galveston College students include the Galveston College Food for Thought mobile food pantry, which provides food to students in partnership with the Houston Food Bank and the Galveston County Food Bank, and the Whitecaps Wardrobe clothing closet, which provides professional clothing to students to wear to interviews and on the job.
“We are grateful to the Greater Texas Foundation for its support of Galveston College and Texas community college students. Technical assistance from the Greater Texas Foundation will benefit our emergency aid program by helping us to streamline the process and make it more efficient – and thus more capable of delivering emergency assistance to students more quickly,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, Galveston College president.
“Galveston College is committed to supporting student success and knows students need a little additional support during times when challenges interfere with attendance, retention and completion. Students have expressed needs for emergency help with rent, utility bills, transportation, medical, home repair, childcare, food and more since the Emergency Scholarship program has been in operation,” said Kelly Merry, director of development and the Galveston College Foundation.
“Building up this scholarship program is important. In comparing total enrollees in the fall of 2020 with students who received Emergency Scholarships during the same time period, the pass rate and the success rate show significant improvement for those who received emergency funds. We’re grateful for this opportunity to partner with the Greater Texas Foundation.”
Participating colleges were selected through a competitive request for proposals (RFP), which was open to all public Texas community colleges enrolling 10,000 students or fewer, along with their respective foundations. Collectively, the 10 Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap colleges enroll more than 53,000 students.
For more information, visit the Greater Texas Foundation website at greatertexasfoundation.org.