In an effort to prevent low-income college students nearing graduation from dropping out, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) today released a report and implementation guide, “Foiling the Drop-Out Trap, Completion Grant Practices for Retaining and Graduating Students,” detailing how universities can use micro-grants to ensure such students complete their degree.
A key element of the report is a how-to-manual designed to help campuses and stakeholders explore, replicate, or scale similar retention and completion grant programs on campuses across the country.
The completion grant programs detailed in the report target low-income students academically on track and a semester or two away from completing degrees before being derailed by unexpected financial need as low as $300. Many low-income students lack the necessary savings, family support, and awareness of other financial aid options open to them. They frequently delay addressing the problem and some students are often automatically dropped from campus rolls for non-payment of fees, while others just give up and drop out of school on their own.
Shari Garmis, Vice President for USU/APLU’s Office of Urban Initiatives said of the grants, “They are relatively inexpensive and have proven to be quite successful, which is why we want to see similar programs implemented at universities across the country. Institutions must be daring and proactive in helping financially needy students graduate, especially when they’ve done their part to get so close to crossing the finish line.”
Ten schools and programs are profiled in the report: Boise State University, Florida international University, Georgia State University, Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis, Morgan State University, University of Memphis, the University of Akron, University of Washington-Tacoma, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Wayne State University.