Guest Presenters:

  • Dr. James “JW” Kelley, Associate Vice President of Student Services, North Carolina Community College System
  • Allison H. Gahrmann, Finish Line Grant Coordinator, North Carolina Community College System
  • Dr. Shelley Ducatt, Senior Associate Dean of Students & Director of Student Support & Transitions, Florida State University

FCAN Host: Adam Lindberg, Director of Research and Policy

Emergency or need-based aid programs can be a critical tool for ensuring a student’s education ambitions are not disrupted.

On October 27, FCAN hosted a webinar highlighting best practices from North Carolina’s Finish Line Grant Program, which provides relief to community college students in the state facing immediate and unforeseen financial hardship that could prevent them from completing their certificate or degree. Funds from the program can be used for course materials, housing, medical needs, and other financial emergencies.

Although Florida does not currently have a sustainable funding source as a component of need-based aid, the state does offer support to students through community- and institution-led programs, such as Destination Graduation (a collaboration between Heart of Florida United Way, Seminole State College, and the UpliftED local college access network) and Florida State University’s DSA Emergency Relief Fund.  Dr. Shelley Ducatt offered an overview of FSU’s emergency relief fund, which was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in 2018 and is funded by donations to the FSU Foundation and the university’s Division of Student Affairs.

She was followed by Dr. James “JW” Kelley and Allison Gahrmann of the North Carolina Community College System, who outlined the origins of the state’s Finish Line Grant Program, which launched in 2018. They also reiterated the importance of helping students address any and every barrier to student success.

“Every student has a story, and every emergency is not like the last one,” Gahrmann said during the webinar.

You can watch the entire webinar, download the presentation, and access more materials related to emergency aid via the following resources:

How Florida Can Use Emergency and Need-Based Aid for Student Success (FCAN Policy Brief)

Be sure to visit our Past Webinars page for access to recordings and downloadable material from FCAN’s previous presentations.

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