Emergency Fund to Help Students

Mary Joan Nastri, Staff Writer

We’ve all had to deal with financial emergencies, and sometimes have had to choose to forgo a class or two because of the cost of say, car repair, loss of a job, child care changes, etc. Now, Madison College is introducing a new Emergency Fund. It is funded in part by the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. Great Lakes has made other endowments to several colleges in four states, including Wisconsin.

It is a pilot program for Madison College and will run from March 14 to May 31, 2016. The kick-off campaign to get the word out to students has already begun. Instructors and other staff are being informed, so if they recognize a student is having difficulty they can steer them to this program.

Great Lakes has named it the Dash Grant and the fund is $79,300 over 2 ½ years with $10,000 of those funds being used for administrative costs. The Madison College Foundation will also contribute $20,000 to this fund.

Madison College has had an emergency fund in the past. Last semester the funds totaled $13,000 and the school did not choose to make it widely known because it was such a small amount of money. Now, the Student Affairs staff are excited to be able to help a wider set of students in need. However, there are eligibility requirements:

  • The student has received a Pell Grant in the term the request is made.
  • The student meets Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress requirements.
  • The student is enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits in the term that the request is made.
  • The student must be admitted to an eligible program of study.
  • The student must not owe funds to Madison College.
  • And, the student must maximize federal financial aid eligibility.

The first step is to fill out a web form on the college website located at http://madisoncollege.edu/financial-challenges or search for Emergency Funding through the Madison College web page.
The grant, which is one time only, can be up to $500. It will cover expenses such as utilities, housing/rent, food/meals, medical/dental expenses, public transportation/bus pass, child care and gas. Funds to pay third party recipients such as MGE will be disbursed in the company name not in the student’s name.

Ineligible expenses are tuition, fees, books, legal fees, tobacco, alcohol, and entertainment expenses.

After completing the Financial Challenges Form, the student will be notified within 48 hours and a Madison College counselor will set up a time to briefly discuss the life challenges you’re experiencing.

If the student meets all the eligibility requirements the request will be forwarded to the financial aid office for processing. If the need is greater than the grant will cover, or if the student does not meet the eligibility requirements, an email will be sent with additional community resources. Some of the organizations that can help outside of Madison College are: Community Action Coalition (CAC), Porchlight, FoodShare and United Way 211 help line. Don’t face the challenges alone. Madison College is there to try to lighten the load so you may “dash” to the finish line to complete your degree and continue on your path to success.