WGU Innovation Lab Partners with Leader in Emergency Student Financial Aid


“WGU Labs provides education technology companies with research and development services that drive organizational growth,” said Todd bloom, Managing Director of WGU Labs. “And we are focusing our support on companies that have demonstrated, at an early stage, their commitment to social impact and scalability. Edquity illustrates these attributes.

Edquity’s core product supports students who are at high risk of dropping out due to financial hardship. Its objective is to make more efficient the disbursements of emergency funds, usually from institutional safety net programs. As issues such as food and housing insecurity disproportionately impact low-income students, students of color, LGBTQ students, and adult learners, Edquity’s platform focuses on improving outcomes. academic results and the economic mobility of students from these backgrounds.

“Given the extremely precarious financial situation of most students, 50 percent of whom suffer from problems such as food insecurity or housing insecurity, it can take as little as one $ 200 shock of completely upsetting a student’s experience, ”said David Helene, Founder and CEO of Edquity. “Students may experience hardships that lead to dropping out and can lead to default, and they often don’t even realize that their school is providing emergency funds.”

WGU Labs will study how the Edquity app is used by some of its more than 120,000 students and analyze whether and how the effective disbursement of emergency funds impacts student retention and perceptions of institutional support. Additionally, WGU Labs will examine how other student support features within the app are valued by users, such as aggregation of social services in student residence areas, making it easier to connect with students. local resources.

With an annual schooling of approximately $ 6,500 for most undergraduate programs, WGU is committed to keeping costs low to help students graduate with little or no student debt. More than 70 percent of students receive financial aid and scholarships, and the school is scattered about $ 15 million in scholarships each year to approximately 8,500 students. Each year, WGU disperses approximately $ 1 million to students from its Financial Support Fund, a safety net program designed to help students who are experiencing unusual difficulties.

“Our students live all over the country, so the app’s ability to share information about local social services is essential,” said Amanda Wild, Director of Fellowships at WGU. “Edquity’s ‘culture of caring’ approach will help us meet the much more acute needs of the students who reach them and their families, while accelerating the time between request and disbursement for struggling students. ”

About WGU Labs

WGU Labs is a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Governors University, a non-profit organization. WGU Labs primarily provides research and services, invents, builds, and intends to make strategic investments in innovative learning solutions that improve quality and advance educational outcomes for learners around the world. Drawing on social psychology, the science of learning, and industry trends, WGU Labs is accelerating education startups and developing its own scalable, research-backed products. WGU Labs uses effectiveness testing with students under real conditions, ensuring that each product has a positive impact on student success. Learn more about WGU Labs at wgulabs.org.

About Edquity

Edquity offers the first research-driven basic needs insecurity and emergency aid technology platform for university students, which includes emergency aid underwriting and disbursement functionality as well as a one-stop-shop for referral to social services. Drawing on the research of Chief Strategy Officer Dr Sara Goldrick-Rab, Edquity has worked with innovative partners, including the Dallas County Community College District, where Edquity successfully supported the district during the biggest natural disaster in Dallas’ the story. The organization has been recognized with awards and recognition from the Gates Foundation, New Schools Venture Fund, Village Capital and Inclusive Fintech 50, and the founder of Edquity. David Helene was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Social Entrepreneurship. Edquity has received over $ 4 million in funding from innovative investments and philanthropic partners and is growing rapidly to support national partners in 2020.

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SOURCE WGU Labs

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