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A Sharper Focus: 2019 Education Philanthropy Report

April 1, 2020

2019 was not only our first full year under the Ascendium name, we literally sharpened our focus to four areas: removing structural barriers, postsecondary education in prison, rural education and workforce training, and streamlining transitions. 

Emergency Aid For Higher Education: A Toolkit and Resource Guide for Decision-makers

October 7, 2019

Ascendium Education Group (formerly known as Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates) has invested heavily to advance postsecondary success for low-income students, students of color, and first-generation students. Since 2012, Ascendium has awarded over $10.2 million in Dash Emergency Grants to 63 two- and four-year institutions. Through Dash, colleges administer emergency aid (EA) grants to meet students' unanticipated expenses so that more of these students stay on track for completion. These small grants, often $500 or less, can make the difference in whether a student is able to remain in school. Ascendium contracted with Equal Measure in late 2017 to create a set of tools to help the field codify the process of awarding emergency aid. Emergency Aid for Higher Education: A Toolkit and Resource Guide for DecisionMakers is the result of more than 10 months of research, interviews, focus groups, and webinars with Dash Emergency Grant recipients that elucidated current best practices, and gaps, in administering EA programs.

A Broader View of Emergency Aid: Toward a More Holistic Approach to Helping Students Weather a Financial Crisis

February 1, 2019

Ascendium details how colleges have learned to probe for the underlying issues that contribute to financial emergencies, and are connecting students to community agencies as well as offering enhanced campus resources.While the report offers many lessons learned and insights, three key messages prevail:Colleges created an institutional culture where students feel safe asking for help.Colleges are more aware of students' holistic needs.Emergency aid is a vital retention tool.For many low-income students, an unforeseen car repair or medical bill can mean the end of their college hopes. While typically not large expenses, they can be enough to force these students into a tough choice: stay in college or pay the bill. Since its inception, Ascendium's Dash Emergency Grant Program has helped more than 100 two- and four-year colleges throughout the U.S. implement emergency grant programs on their own campuses.

Clearing the Path-2018 Education Philanthropy

January 1, 2018

The issues impacting access and success in postsecondary education and workforce training are complex, partly because they are shared by both students and institutions. That's why we believe in funding a pipeline of solutions, some of them novel and untested, others fully baked and ready to be scaled up