The Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates has given Minnesota State University, Mankato a $420,000 grant to help students in emergency situations. The goal of this grant is to keep students in school, even if they have a financial emergency. Examples of this would be unexpected car repairs or medical bills, which might make attending school even more of a challenge for those already struggling to pay for school.
Carolyn Nelson is the director of scholarships in the Office of Admissions at Minnesota State Mankato. Regarding this grant, she said, “We’re trying to be flexible with what we’re defining as an emergency, because that might look very different for different situations.” The financial emergency would have to impact the student’s ability to be successful in school.
A student is eligible for the grant if they are undergraduate, FASFA eligible, and have an Expected Family Contribution of $7,000 or less. Nelson adds, “You can be a part-time student or a full-time student.” The student must meet with a Grant Advisor and complete an Emergency Grant Application to be considered for the grant and will have to explain their financial emergency in the application. The student is required to be enrolled for the semester in which the funds are awarded and may only benefit from the emergency grant award once.
“Research shows that at Minnesota State University, Mankato and nationally, students, particularly low-income students, are leaving their university experience for what, in the grand scheme of things, is a relatively small amount [of unexpected expenses], from 500 to 1,000 dollars,” Nelson said.
Up to $1,000 will be paid to a third party. For example, if a student’s car broke down, and they used the emergency grant to cover the expense, the money would go to the repair shop. Documentation will need to be submitted for proof of the expense, according to Nelson. The grant will be paid within two days after an MNSU committee has reviewed the application.
“One of the things that I think qualified us [for the grant program] is the type of students that we serve here,” Nelson said. “We do serve a lot of low-income students, and that’s part of our mission here at the university, is to help all of our students be successful and achieve their degree.”
The Great Lakes Corporation, according to its website home.mygreatlakes.org, is “a non-profit organization dedicated to helping make college a reality.” Great Lakes designed the grant to help mostly low-income students.
Their website states: “We focus exclusively on barriers faced by students from low-income families, students of color, and students who are first in their families to go to college. They have the most to gain from a degree, but the least support in earning one.” They believe that going to college is an important investment in one’s future.
The grant became available for students on the first day of school. To find more information or to apply, go to www.mnsu.edu/emergencygrant.