PRESS RELEASE: Helios Education Foundation and College Success Arizona Launch Arizona Postsecondary Student Resiliency Fund
Rebecca Lindgren, 602.828.7061 Maura Keaney, 415.250.1875
[PHOENIX, April 23, 2020] –Today, Helios Education Foundation and College Success Arizona launched the Arizona Postsecondary Student Resiliency Fund to help support college students who have been impacted by COVID-19. The goal of the fund is to support students to persist and succeed in completing their postsecondary degree, despite the challenges and uncertainty brought on by the global pandemic.
“Helios and College Success Arizona are partnering, with a sense of urgency, to identify ways to support college students who are at risk of dropping out or delaying their postsecondary education due to the effects of COVID-19,” said Vince Roig, Founding Chairman, Helios Education Foundation and Chair of the Board for College Success Arizona.
It has been widely reported that many students are considering going part-time, or taking a gap year, so they can work and help families who have lost jobs and are facing economic challenges. These realities are especially true for low-income and first-generation students who are traditionally more at risk of not completing their degree. It is an economic imperative that there are equitable opportunities for educational success available to all students, regardless of background or zip code. Arizona’s future economy depends on increasing the number of students who pursue and complete a postsecondary degree.
“COVID-19 heightens the equity issues low-income college students in Arizona face. Many students who were already at the brink of not being able to afford their next semester have lost their incomes and other means of paying for school,” said Rich Nickel, president and CEO, College Success Arizona. “Organizations must come together now to provide aid to these students at this critical time.”
The Arizona Postsecondary Student Resiliency Fund will provide resources to help first generation, low-income, and underserved students complete this current semester and enroll for the 2020/2021 academic year. These supports will include things like administering emergency student aid, implementing Virtual Advising to help students stay on track, providing wraparound services such as mentoring and check-ins, and hosting trainings to help students navigate the current crisis and new learning norms.
While there is no precise exemption list of services that might be covered, the intent is to not duplicate relief provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which provides almost $14 Billion that will go directly to higher education institutions to support the costs of shifting classes online, and for grants to students for food, housing, technology, health care, childcare and other purposes.
The Arizona Postsecondary Student Resiliency Fund has already been instituted and resources will be distributed immediately. The Fund, expected to help up to 1,500 students, will be administered by College Success Arizona and is available for students working with existing partner organizations focused on postsecondary student success across Arizona. For more information about partner programs and eligibility requirements, please visit www.collegesuccessarizona.org.
“It is our hope that this partnership will provide some security and stability to help first generation, low-income, and underrepresented students persist in their educational journey and graduate on time,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation.
About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation invests resources all along the education continuum to ensure more students in Arizona and Florida connect potential to opportunity by completing a postsecondary degree. Committed to the principles of Community, Equity, Investment, and Partnership, Helios and our partners improve educational outcomes for minority, first-generation, and underrepresented students, throughout Arizona, and in Florida’s metropolitan regions of Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Miami. Focused on the limitless opportunities provided by an equitable education system, Helios and our partners seek to change lives, strengthen communities, and close achievement gaps. Since 2004 Helios has invested more than $240 million in partnerships and initiatives focused on improving education outcomes in the two states we serve. Learn more about Helios Education Foundation at www.helios.org.
About College Success Arizona
College Success Arizona works to significantly increase the college attainment rate of students in Arizona, particularly for those who otherwise would not be able to attend or graduate, such as low-income, first generation, and Latino students. We advocate for long-term, sustainable policy solutions that address key challenges in Arizona. Our priorities include closing information gaps that limit college-going culture, working to improve college affordability and increase state financial aid, and advocating for increased attainment statewide to drive economic growth. Learn more at www.collegesuccessarizona.org