Current Grant

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We awarded $7.2 million in Dash Emergency Grants to 32 four-year colleges in six states to replicate the success of two-year institutions who've helped at-risk students overcome financial obstacles as part of their overall student success strategy. We are also leveraging additional contributions from our college partners, increasing the total impact to $7.7 million in emergency grants available to low-income students.

Since 2012, we have helped two-year colleges build emergency grant programs and outcomes have been encouraging. These colleges report students who receive emergency grants stay in school at better rates and graduate in larger numbers.

Building on the success of these programs at two-year colleges, we have now extended Dash Emergency Grants to four-year colleges and universities to launch emergency grant programs on their campuses.

Each of the 2017-2019 Dash Emergency Grant colleges has shown a commitment to helping students quickly address financial setbacks so they don't lose focus on their coursework and can continue on their way to graduation. We are working closely with each institution, providing funds and administration assistance, including technical support from program managers. Colleges are contributing additional emergency grant funds totaling 10-15% of the grant amount over the course of the grant period. 

Colleges were awarded the first student emergency grants in Fall 2017. Nearly $6.4 million in grants were awarded to 7,000 students. Most recently, our 32 partner colleges reported to the National Student Clearinghouse that 91% of Spring 2019 emergency grant recipients reenrolled, transferred or graduated by Fall 2019.

This grant will help us understand the impact of emergency grants on four-year college students' persistence and completion rates. Additionally, we have the opportunity to identify nuances between emergency grant programs at two-year and four-year colleges. We're interested to see if there will be differences in the types of emergencies experienced by students, in the average amount requested, and how the timing of the request (e.g. fall, spring or summer semester) affects re-enrollment. We also look forward to adding knowledge to the field so other colleges across the country can establish their own emergency grant programs.

  • Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI ($210,000)
  • Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, WI ($67,200)
  • Carleton College, Northfield, MN ($168,000)
  • Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH ($262,500)
  • Edgewood College, Madison, WI ($131,250)
  • Grand View University, Des Moines, IA ($210,000)
  • Hamline University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN ($141,750)
  • Heidelberg University, Tiffin, OH ($115,500)
  • Lourdes University, Sylvania, OH ($210,000)
  • Mercy College of Health Sciences, Des Moines, IA ($84,000)
  • Mercy College of Ohio, Toledo, OH ($210,000)
  • Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN ($420,000)
  • Minnesota State University-Mankato, Mankato, MN ($420,000)
  • Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, WI ($84,000)
  • Notre Dame College of Ohio, South Euclid, OH ($113,400)
  • Ohio State University, Columbus, OH ($210,000)
  • Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH ($131,250)
  • St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN ($140,069)
  • St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN ($420,000)
  • Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH ($86,100)
  • The University of Akron, Akron, OH ($630,000)
  • University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Fort Smith, AR ($157,500)
  • University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR ($210,000)
  • University of Mary, Bismarck, ND ($210,000)
  • University of Northwestern-St. Paul, St. Paul, MN ($63,000)
  • University of Toledo, Toledo, OH ($420,000)
  • University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Green Bay, MN ($105,000)
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI ($630,000)
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Platteville, WI ($420,000)
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI ($315,000)
  • Upper Iowa University, Fayette, IA ($88,988)
  • Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH ($84,000)


Great Lakes awarded $1.5 million in Dash Emergency 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.

We created Dash Emergency Grants to make an even bigger impact than our previous emergency grant to help more students, at more colleges, in more places.

The process is simple: students apply for micro-grants directly from their college when faced with an unexpected bill, such as a car repair or medical payment. Expenses are paid within 48 hours of the approved application. By quickly removing financial distractions, students don't lose focus on their studies and continue moving toward completion.

With support from Great Lakes, our 31 partner colleges have awarded emergency grants to their students since Spring 2016. To date, over $1.4 million in grant funding has helped pay the expenses of nearly 3,100 students, with 53% of the grant dollars going to emergency housing needs and 31% to emergency transportation needs. Our partner colleges reported that 86% of the Fall 2017 emergency grant recipients reenrolled, transferred or graduated by Spring 2018 term. We look forward to learning whether this positive trend continues in the final semester of the grant period.

Each of the 31 colleges is demonstrating proof of their commitment to at-risk students with an institutional investment: By providing an escalating cash match up to 40% for emergency funds, they will address barriers to completion and move toward program sustainability. Over the duration of the grant period, upwards of 4,000 students stand to benefit from the Dash Emergency Grant program.

  • Blackhawk Technical College, Janesville, WI ($38,700)
  • Central Lakes College, Brainerd, MN ($39,700)
  • Central Ohio Technical College, Newark, OH ($39,700)
  • Chippewa Valley Technical College, Eau Claire, WI ($59,500)
  • Clark State Community College, Springfield, OH ($59,500)
  • Eastern Gateway Community College, Steubenville, OH ($34,700)
  • Edison Community College, Piqua, OH ($17,500)
  • Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, IA ($59,500)
  • Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park, MN ($54,500)
  • Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs, IA ($59,500)
  • Lakeland Community College, Kirtland, OH ($39,700)
  • Lorain County Community College, Elyria, OH ($79,300)
  • Madison College, Madison, WI ($79,300)
  • Mid-State Technical College, Wisconsin Rapids, WI ($39,700)
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee, WI ($96,700)
  • Normandale Community College, Bloomington, MN ($79,300)
  • North Central State College, Mansfield, OH ($39,700)
  • Northcentral Technical College, Wausau, WI ($39,700)
  • Northeast Iowa Community College, Calmar, IA ($37,200)
  • Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay, WI ($59,500)
  • Northwest Iowa Community College, Sheldon, IA ($20,000)
  • Pine Technical and Community College, Pine City, MN ($39,700)
  • Riverland Community College, Austin, MN ($39,700)
  • Rochester Community and Technical College, Rochester, MN ($59,500)
  • South Central College, North Mankato, MN ($39,700)
  • Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, Fennimore, WI ($39,700)
  • Stark State College, Canton, OH ($79,300)
  • Vermilion Community College, Ely, MN ($27,000)
  • Waukesha County Technical College, Pewaukee, WI ($59,500)
  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Shell Lake, WI ($34,700)
  • Zane State College, Zanesville, OH ($39,700)


Contact Program Officer Carolynn Lee at if you are a college or university with questions about this grant.

Students looking for emergency grant funds should contact the financial aid office or student services office at their college or university.