DENVER, CO — The House Committee on Education today passed Representative Barbara McLachlan and Tony Exum’s bill to create the Higher Ed Student Emergency Assistance Grant program by a vote of 8-5. The program would offer emergency grants to help students at state institutions of higher education stay in school and graduate.
“Students who are forced to decide between dropping out of college and paying for a financial emergency deserve our support,” said Education Committee Chair Rep. McLachlan (D-Durango). “This grant program will pick up, with just a small amount of financial investment, where student financial aid leaves off. This grant program will ensure that determined and hard-working students can finish their degree and fill the many job vacancies that require a post-secondary degree.”
“A financial emergency like a flat tire or family crisis shouldn’t be what stops a great student from obtaining their degree,” said Rep. Exum, Sr. (D-Colorado Springs). “I was very pleased to see the House Ed Committee advance our bill today and get us one step closer to creating this grant program. Low income students face a much steeper climb towards graduation, and I’m proud to say we have their back.”
HB20-1110 would create the Emergency Completion and Retention Grant Program within the department of higher education. This grant program seeks to improve our state institution’s retention and completion rates by providing emergency financial assistance, capped at $500 while enrolled at an institution of higher education, to students who are experiencing qualifying financial emergencies. The bill recognizes that, while student financial aid programs exist to reduce the overall cost of a student’s attendance at a college or university, there are certain financial emergencies that force students to choose between continuing their education or paying for the emergency. The grant program outlined in this bill would remedy these types of situations.
In order to qualify for one of these grants, students must qualify for in-state tuition, meet state financial aid eligibility criteria and be more than 60% done with their required coursework, among other requirements. State higher education Institutions must prioritize eligible low-income students, first generation students, and students who lack other financial resources.