The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Greater Texas Foundation, and Trellis Foundation launched the collaborative Texas Emergency Aid Grant Program to support students across Texas public, private, and non-profit higher education institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. The goal of this public-private partnership is to raise up to $2 million to support the state’s two- and four-year institutions with block grants of $10,000 to $35,000, depending on the size and need of each institution and its student body. These grants are designed to expand existing emergency aid programs offered by Texas higher education institutions and complement the federal funds provided by the recently passed CARES Act by providing resources for capacity-building support of emergency aid programs or to fill gaps through direct emergency student aid.
The Coordinating Board’s primary role in the COVID-19 crisis has been to act as a facilitator, partner and advocate for institutions of higher education and the students they serve. The Texas Emergency Aid Grant Program will provide much-needed assistance to many of the colleges and universities that collectively serve nearly 1.6 million students across the state.
“Across Texas, the financial situations of thousands of college students and their families have been severely impacted due to the COVID-19 crisis. Many students face housing and food insecurity and are at high risk of dropping out,” said Commissioner of Texas Higher Education Harrison Keller. “I’m thrilled to partner with Greater Texas Foundation and Trellis Foundation to support Texas students and their institutions, to help students make ends meet and stay on track to graduate. Helping students obtain high-value credentials is critical not only for these individuals but because Texas graduates will help drive the recovery of the state economy.”
The Texas Higher Education Foundation will serve as the fiscal agent for the Texas Emergency Aid Grant Program, working to identify additional sources of funds that may be used as a match to private philanthropic dollars, such as the anchor funding donations by GTF and Trellis of $500,000 and $200,000, respectively. Individuals may also join this effort by contributing online.
“We are proud to be part of this critical program. The impact of COVID-19 on students’ finances and plans for the future is immense, and the full consequences are still unknown. With the emergency grants made available through this fund, we hope to keep more Texans on track to their postsecondary goals despite the setbacks and possible hardships they’re facing now,” said Greater Texas Foundation Board Chair Ralph Rushing.
“Our hearts are with all of the students and the higher education community, and we deeply appreciate the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s efforts to provide resources for institutions and students during these difficult days,” said Trellis Foundation Executive Director Kristin Boyer.
The Texas Higher Education Foundation will manage the Texas Emergency Aid Grant Program, with the aim of supporting as many Texas colleges and universities affected by COVID-19 pandemic related disruptions as possible. Based upon availability of funds, institutions will be prioritized, and grant amounts will be scaled based on two criteria, first the financial need of the institution’s student body, and second the size of the institution’s student body This will ensure that resources are meeting as many of the needs as possible across Texas higher education institutions. The grant application will be made available online through the THECB website or THEF website.