The face of higher education has changed over the course of the last 20 years. That’s because students have changed.
What we see today is the rise of the “non-traditional” student. Starting college later in life, they’re parents, caregivers, full-time employees, and retirees.
They’re also the fastest-growing demographic with 75% of college students identifying as non-traditional. But for them, college can be an uphill battle.
Because, in truth, higher education is a privilege. It demands a significant investment of time and money, both of which they have very little of. For too many, higher education is at risk of becoming an out-of-reach dream.
That’s where Inversant comes in.
We work to support those at-risk students, ensuring they have the support they need. One way we do this is through emergency aid.
Recently, we launched our Cash for College Fund. Running through October 31st, we asked students to share the financial barriers they were facing.
The application and surveys allowed us to detect and focus on students at risk of:
- Serious financial distress
- Dropping out of college during these unprecedented times
The fund provided fast and flexible cash emergency aid. That aid was relief in the face of current elements.
The overwhelming number of applications received is a testament to the urgent need. Within 48 hours, over 4500 students responded to our call. By the end, we had shy of 7000 people interested in assistance.
A preliminary analysis of the essays revealed that students face extraordinary financial pressures. As our new reality shifts, students deal with:
- Job loss, theirs and family members
- Housing loss, on-campus and their family home
- Remote learning without proper learning essentials
“Only 3% of applicants had in class education. They moved and had to adjust to an online learning environment overnight.”
Food and housing insecurity among college students were already present before the pandemic. The virus compounded these negative effects forcing students to make very difficult decisions.
89% of the applicants mentioned employment-related struggles. This includes job loss, reduced hours, or an unpredictable income stream.
71% worried about covering housing costs or other recurring expenses or major bills.
More than a quarter of applicants (28%) expressed difficulty paying for:
This indicates an alarming level of financial insecurity.
We sought to address the pandemic induced economic hardship through our fund. As we know, at-risk students are more likely to drop out. And when they do, going back is extraordinarily difficult.
While we could only assist ten students, many more are in need of critical emergency aid now.
To that end, we compiled a Scholarship Search Directory for college students to use as a resource.
The Hope Center Guide is another excellent resource. It addresses common needs that college students experience and offers resources.
As we reflect on our findings, we recognize the crisis requires a large-scale investment. Not only in our students, but also in the future of our nation.
This is why we joined forces with the Hope Center and 103 organizations to call on Congress. We’re asking that they support college students by extending emergency aid grant funding.
As negotiations continue on the stimulus package, we urge Congress to include funding for emergency aid grants.
This will keep students connected to their college education and on the road to economic recovery.