Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Higher Education Foundation today announced the award of $125,000 in student emergency aid grants to five Texas community colleges. Thanks to funding by The Kresge Foundation, Houston Community College, Dallas Colleges, Alamo Colleges, Tarrant County College and El Paso Community College will each receive $25,000 to assist students who are facing hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Collectively, these institutions serve more than 250,000 students, with nearly 98,000 being Pell Grant recipients.
“I am grateful to The Kresge Foundation for working with us to provide much-needed assistance that enables several of our state’s largest community colleges to provide financial relief to students impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and to help them stay on track to earning their credentials,” said Commissioner of Texas Higher Education Harrison Keller. “This is significant because, looking ahead, we know our Texas graduates and higher education institutions will play critical roles in accelerating the recovery of the Texas economy.”
The Coordinating Board will work to document lessons learned from the Texas Emergency Aid Grant Program, analyzing ongoing student needs that were amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and identifying ways to strengthen the administration of emergency aid programs with our institutional partners.
“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the challenges already facing many students living with low incomes, including housing and food insecurity, as well as limited access to healthcare, childcare and reliable internet connections,” said Edward Smith, program officer with Kresge’s Education Program. “We’re humbled to support the Board’s efforts to deliver timely aid to community college students, including those who may have been overlooked or left out of other federal aid resources, to help ensure they can continue their studies and that their degree-completion plans are not derailed.”
The Texas Higher Education Foundation serves as the fiscal agent for the Texas Emergency Aid Grant Program and has been working to identify additional sources of funds that may be used as a match to private philanthropic dollars, including The Kresge Foundation’s $125,000 donation. This most recent donation is in addition to the first round of assistance that resulted in 57 grants awarded in May, thanks to anchor donations by the Greater Texas Foundation and Trellis Foundation, and subsequent individual donations. Individuals may continue to join this effort by contributing online. Every additional dollar raised will help provide crucial resources to another institution and its students during this time of unprecedented need.
The Texas Emergency Aid Grant Program is designed to expand existing emergency aid programs offered by Texas higher education institutions and complement the federal funds provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.