Austin, Texas – Texas A&M University-Commerce is among 57 higher education institutions selected from among 124 applicants to receive Texas Emergency Aid Grant Program funding, according to an announcement Monday by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas Higher Education Foundation, the Greater Texas Foundation and the Trellis Foundation.
In addition to TAMU-C, other colleges and universities around the region named as recipients include Northeast Texas Community College, Panola College, East Texas Baptist University, Kilgore College, Texas A&M University-Texarkana and The University of Texas at Tyler.
Overall, $710,000 in grant funding was divided among 29 community colleges, 16 public universities and 12 independent, non-profit Texas institutions to support students during the COVID-19 crisis. The amount awarded to each agency was not specified by THEFCB in the press release.
The Texas Emergency Aid Grant Program is designed to provide critical support to help students make ends meet and stay on track to graduate. Applicants could apply for funding for a variety of needs including food, housing, and technology support to help with the transition to online learning, according to a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board press release.
THEF’s plans to continue raising funds to support institutions’ work in meeting students’ needs.
“I’m proud that together we are providing much-needed assistance to these Texas institutions and the more than 300,000 students they collectively serve across the state,” Commissioner of Texas Higher Education Harrison Keller was quoted in the press release as stating. “Throughout this process, institutions have shared with us the struggles their students are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some seeing dramatic increases in student emergency aid requests. I am grateful to our partners, including Greater Texas Foundation and Trellis Foundation, for helping students stay on track to obtain high-value credentials. Looking ahead, we know that Texas graduates will play a critical role in the recovery of the Texas economy.”
“Greater Texas Foundation’s mission centers on helping more Texas students earn postsecondary credentials. This fund is a critical resource for directing financial support to students impacted by COVID-19 so they can stay on track to achieve their educational goals,” Greater Texas Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Sue McMillin was quoted as saying.
“Our Texas colleges and universities are playing a vital role in Texas’s recovery efforts,” the press release quoted Trellis Foundation Executive Director Kristin Boyer as stating.. “We appreciate that so many of them are putting students at the center of these efforts, and we thank the Coordinating Board for stepping up to support them through the creation of this emergency fund.”
Texas Higher Education Foundation serves 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 join this effort by contributing online. According to the press release, funds raised “will help provide crucial resources to another institution and its students during this time of unprecedented need.”
The goal of this public-private partnership is to continue raising money to support the state’s two- and four-year institutions with block grants of $10,000 to $30,000, 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 higher education institutions in Texas and complement the federal funds provided by the CARES Act by providing resources for capacity-building support of emergency aid programs or through direct emergency student aid, according to the press release.