University of Houston-Victoria

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Emergency Aid Implementation Plan

Purpose:

The Purpose of emergency aid at the University of Houston-Victoria is to assist students with covering unforeseen emergency expenses that, if left unaddressed, could cause them to not successfully matriculate.

Overview:

The University of Houston-Victoria emergency aid plan will consist of ten (10) components to ensure that it is robust and effective. Those components are: Identification, Procedures, Timing, Integration, Marketing, Recurrence, Funding, Awards, Stewardship, and Data. The ten (10) components will fall under three (3) umbrella categories: Administration, Communication, and Sustainability.

Administration:

Identification – Defining an Emergency

An emergency eligible expense is an unforeseen expense that, if not resolved quickly, could lead to the student’s departure from college and a loss of momentum toward completion.

Procedures – Guidelines Appropriate to the Needs and Local Context of the Institution

To receive consideration for emergency aid, the student requestor must complete the emergency aid application and include the appropriate documentation of their expenses.

Example of documentation: For a car repair, a student should provide a mechanic’s estimate. For emergency backup childcare, a student could provide a bill from the childcare provider.

Timing – Prompt Response to Student Financial Crisis

After the successful completion of the emergency aid application, the Emergency Aid Team will make an award determination. The student requestor will be notified of the approval or denial within three (3) business days of receiving a completed student application and required documentation.

Integration – Coordinated Efforts across Departments

To ensure high-level collaboration from various departments, an Emergency Aid Team will be comprised of the practitioners that may interface the most with students. This team will also ensure that the student is also receiving all other forms of aid available to them at UHV.

Emergency Aid Team

Jay Lambert, Chair, Vice President for Student Affairs
Lashon Williams, Director of Financial Aid
Brandon Lee, Director of Residence Life
Beverly Tomek, Associate Provost/Dean of University College
Lois Lemke, Bursar
Sara Weinstein, Coordinator of Student Life/JP's Market
Maggie Hernandez, Counselor

The Emergency Aid Team will meet as needed, to ensure timely decisions are made on all student applicants. A majority rule will determine if a student’s request will be funded.

Communication:

Marketing – Aid Awareness

Research indicates that most institutions are slow to actively market emergency aid due to ‘word of mouth’ being a more effective approach (Kruger, Parnell, & Wesaw, 2016). The marketing of emergency aid at the University of Houston-Victoria will include sessions at New Student Orientation, direct e-mail communication with all students, and it will be routinely disseminated to various campus stakeholders. In addition, the availability of emergency aid will have a presence on the UHV website and printed handbills/flyers will be posted around campus to educate individuals on this funding opportunity.

Recurrence – Students Learning Personal Financial Responsibility

The assistances provided should not be perceived as a continuous offering. Students who receive emergency aid will be expected to engage in some form of a follow-up correspondence, which will educate them on personal financial responsibility. According to research (Kruger, Parnell, & Wesaw, 2016), students who experience financial emergencies are more prone to needing personal counseling, financial aid counseling, food assistance, financial literacy counseling, homelessness services, legal advice, and tax preparation.

Sustainability:

Awards – Direct Help

The Emergency Aid Team at University of Houston-Victoria will award grants for eligible expenses of up to $300.00 to eligible students experiencing a financial emergency – defined as an unforeseen expense that, if not resolved quickly, could lead to the student’s departure from college and a loss of momentum toward completion. Each student is eligible for up to $300.00 per calendar year.

Funding – Ensuring Sufficient Funds

The University of Houston-Victoria will show a continuing effort to respond to students in dire financial need. This will be evident in the annual budget process and through fundraising efforts.

Student Eligibility for Emergency Aid

  • Only degree-seeking students that meet UHV’s satisfactory academic progress requirements as of the date of the award are eligible to receive emergency-aid funding. Students on SAP appeal will not be eligible for funding.
  • A student must be enrolled in at least 6 hours during the semester in which the award is made.

Eligible Expenses

  • Include but not limited to: utilities, housing/rent, food, medical/dental, transportation, and childcare expenses. 
  • Ineligible expenses include school expenses such as: parking fines, tuition, books, supplies, required tools/equipment, or any expenses that will list the vendor as the institution.

Stewardship – Ensuring Timely Distribution of Funds

Funds approved by the Emergency Aid Team will be disbursed within three (3) business days of approval by paying the third party named in the submitted documentation. While paying students directly is prohibited, issuing a gift card to the student that can be used to pay the unforeseen expense is acceptable.

Data – Evaluation of Information and Metrics Over Time

The Emergency Aid Team Chair will be responsible for submitting narrative and data reports according to the timeline specified in the signed Guidelines Acknowledgement Form.

 

 References

Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. (2016). 2012-2015 emergency grant closing report and best practices. Madison, WI.

Kruger, K., Parnell, A., and Wesaw, A. (2016). Landscape analysis of emergency aid programs. NASPA.