PA State System of Higher Ed Pilot Program to Help Students Facing Financial Problems

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, working with the State System Foundation, has taken a major step to help prevent dropout among at-risk students by launching the Keystone Extraordinary Emergency Program (KEEP).

KEEP will provide immediate grants to struggling university students facing the tough choice of dropping out due to unexpected financial problems. The student success program will be available as a pilot this Fall to students at California, Clarion, and Edinboro universities, with the expectation of offering the program to the rest of the State System at a later date.

“A key to the success of public higher education is ensuring students who start on a path toward a degree can have the support they need to finish their journey,” Chancellor Dan Greenstein said. “Too many of our students cannot finish because they face costs, often unexpectedly and beyond their control. Successfully implementing this pilot program at California, Clarion, and Edinboro will provide a template for us to scale across our system.”

KEEP will be overseen by the State System Foundation, which worked to secure startup funding for the new program from an anonymous private foundation in Pennsylvania. A majority of the funding during the next two years will go directly to students for emergency aid, with some going to support the necessary infrastructure development to manage the program and ensure the quick distribution of funds. 

The State System Foundation plans to secure additional grants to continue the program and expand it across the entire system.

“Our System Redesign efforts focus on programs and initiatives that support student success, and KEEP will further those efforts so students can continue to enroll at the university of their choice,” said Cynthia Shapira, chair of the State System’s Board of Governors. “No student should have to stop pursuing their degree because of unexpected bills or other financial challenges.” 

More information about how students can access KEEP will be available at a later date.