The University of Central Arkansas has awarded more than $51,000 in student grants during fall 2017.

The funding for those came from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates to provide Dash Emergency Grants to students.

The UCA Foundation, Inc. and the UCA 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," John Fincher, assistant vice president for student services, said.

Fincher co-authored the grant with Jennifer Deering, grant writer in sponsored programs at the university.

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 grant program through Great Lakes until 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 and these colleges have reported 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," Richard D. George, president and chief executive officer of Great Lakes, said. "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

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