The University of Central Arkansas has awarded more than $51,000 in student grants during fall 2017. The funding came from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates to provide Dash Emergency Grants to students.

The UCA Foundation, Inc. and the Division of Student Services received $210,000 in funding that can be used to award students with modest grants for transportation, housing, medical, childcare and other costs. Grants are typically less than $1,000.

“Sudden and unexpected emergencies are a part of everyone’s lives, but for some college students already facing financial difficulty, a temporary setback can force a potentially life-altering decision. Dash offers the opportunity for these students to remain in school,” said John Fincher, assistant vice president for Student Services, who co-authored the grant with Jennifer Deering, grant writer in Sponsored Programs.

The UCA Dash Grant program awards have averaged $883 per student, assisting with everything from an emergency dental procedure to saving a student from being evicted from their apartment the following day. UCA began awarding grants in August and will continue the Great Lakes grant program to July 2019.

“Students who apply for a Dash grant will receive a decision within 48 hours of providing the needed documentation, April Myers, UCA Dash Emergency Grant coordinator, said. “If approved, payments are processed that same day. Our goal is to put these situations behind the students as quickly as possible.”

Great Lakes granted more than $7.2 million in Dash Emergency Grants to 32 four-year institutions in six states. This new Dash Emergency Grant is an expansion of a successful program Great Lakes created for two-year colleges. Since 2012, Great Lakes has committed $3 million to 37 two-year colleges to operate emergency grant programs. These colleges report students who receive emergency grants stay in school at better rates and graduate in higher numbers.

“We’re pleased to extend our emergency grant program to four-year colleges dedicated to helping low-income students overcome financial obstacles,” said Richard D. George, president and chief executive officer of Great Lakes. “In addition to helping more students progress to degree completion, we look forward to learning the nuances between programs at two-year and four-year colleges and sharing that knowledge with other institutions looking to establish emergency grant programs.”

For more information, visit or contact Myers at 501-852-0704 or

About Great Lakes: Dedicated to making college education a reality since 1967.
Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, we have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to more than 8 million borrowers—as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. Our group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected education philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, we have committed nearly $250 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low-income students, and first-generation students. For additional information, visit