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ERIC Number: ED501648
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 119
Abstractor: ERIC
Helping Community College Students Cope with Financial Emergencies: Lessons from the Dreamkeepers and Angel Fund Emergency Financial Aid Programs
Geckeler, Christian
Lumina Foundation for Education created the Dreamkeepers and Angel Fund Emergency Financial Aid Programs to assist community college students who are at risk of dropping out because of unexpected financial crises. Both programs are multiyear pilot projects that began in 2005 and are administered by Scholarship America and the American Indian College Fund, respectively. Eleven community colleges are participating in Dreamkeepers; 26 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) are participating in Angel Fund. Each Dreamkeepers college receives up to $100,000 over three years; each TCU receives nearly $26,000 over five years. The colleges are responsible for designing the programs and raising funds, both to sustain their programs and to continue receiving matching funds from the initiative. Lumina asked MDRC to evaluate these programs during their first two years of program design and implementation. This final report shares their findings on the design and implementation of the programs and draws lessons and recommendations from the colleges' experiences. The study found that Dreamkeepers award recipients were more likely than other students at their colleges to be older, parents, first-year students, enrolled full time, in vocational study, and recipients of other financial aid. At some Dreamkeepers colleges, women and African-American students were more likely to receive aid. According to recipients and administrators at both the Dreamkeepers and the Angel Fund colleges, the aid helped students remain in college. Because MDRC did not use an experimental research design to evaluate the programs, it cannot be concluded that the emergency aid alone was responsible. But the data does show that aid recipients reenrolled at rates roughly comparable to the average on their campuses. Moreover, nearly all of the colleges met or exceeded their fundraising goals, which means that the programs will be able to continue to help more students after Lumina's funding has ended. For colleges interested in starting similar programs, this report suggests several key challenges to address: defining what constitutes a financial emergency, building a flexible administrative structure that safeguards funds yet quickly responds to student needs, ensuring that all eligible students are aware of the program and have equal opportunities to access funds, finding sources of funding, working with technical assistance providers, and using data to evaluate programs. An appendix presents characteristics of Dreamkeepers and Angel Fund Colleges and Angel Fund College Survey Responses. (Contains 32 tables, 1 figure, and 2 boxes.) [This report was written with Carrie Beach, Michael Pih, and Leo Yan.]
MDRC. 16 East 34th Street 19th Floor, New York, NY 10016-4326. Tel: 212-532-3200; Fax: 212-684-0832; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: MDRC
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A