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Mental Health & Wellness
Student Support
Learner Impact

Firsthand accounts of how a small grant can reach learners exactly when they need it most

Every day, our learners are balancing the complexities of going to classes and advancing toward meaningful employment with the realities of life — maintaining a family and social schedule, working a full-time job and keeping the lights on at home. But according to the Hope Center’s most recent Student Basic Needs Survey, nearly 3 in 5 college students experienced basic needs insecurity. This means that the balancing act between school and life can, without the right support and access to resources, escalate into crisis situations. We’ve seen firsthand the impact this can have on a learner’s journey. Unpaid bills. Nights without a secure place to sleep. A fee standing in the way of a hard-earned degree. That’s where microgrants from InsideTrack’s Crisis Support Services (CSS) team come in.

Through this initiative, we are raising funds to provide small microgrants to learners in crisis. The idea is simple: to support learners when they need it most, helping them address their immediate crisis and continue on their educational or career path. Our first priority is making sure every individual we work with is safe and supported — and our CSS team always provides actionable next steps or longer-term resource connections to ensure support continues. Through direct, frontline work with hundreds of thousands of learners each year, we’ve seen firsthand that there are gaps in resources that need immediate attention. This program mobilizes to meet those needs.

To get a true sense of the power of a microgrant to make a difference in a learner’s trajectory, let’s meet five of the people these grants have recently helped. Please note that their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Tanya's Story

Tanya is a nursing student determined to provide her six children with a better life. Her coach brought in the Crisis Support Services team when he learned that her electricity was about to be shut off — which would not only shut off the heat, lights and refrigerator, but also her internet connection to her coursework. Everything she’d been working so hard for was about to be lost because of a bill she couldn’t pay. With support from the CSS team, a microgrant paid the $599 bill, so Tanya was able to continue to provide her family a safe living space, as well as continue on with her education.

Jayce's Story

Jayce is a neurodivergent young man with a Bachelor of Arts, working on getting into a master’s degree program. As a foster youth, he was connected with an InsideTrack coach while he was experiencing housing insecurity and searching for a job that could help him gain stability. But how could he present his best self to potential future employers when he didn’t have a single pair of shoes appropriate for job interviews? His coach connected him with the Crisis Support Services team, who used a microgrant for $83.99 to buy him that pair of shoes. With new footwear and new confidence, Jayce is able to continue his search for employment and hopes to land a job soon.

Lucia's Story

Lucia was on her way to achieving her dream of securing her college diploma. She has shown resilience through many challenges, and now, as she was completing her final term and standing on the cusp of graduating, one more hurdle stood in her way. In order to attend the ceremony, walk across the stage, and receive her diploma, she was required to purchase a cap and gown, as well as pay a graduation fee of $190 — and that was money she just didn’t have. Not having that $190 was the only thing keeping Lucia from the graduation stage, so her InsideTrack coach connected her with the Crisis Support Services team. They were able to provide a microgrant to cover the expense, leaving Lucia free to fully soak in that monumental achievement of official graduation.

Nicole's Story

Nicole is a woman with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Laid off from her job, she connected to a career coaching program to help her while she looked for a job. With money tight, she was renting the only apartment she could afford — a small living space from a questionable landlord who wouldn’t turn on the heat or give her access to the kitchen. The challenging living conditions made it hard for her to focus on her job search. Nicole’s coach alerted the Crisis Support Services team, who made arrangements to use a $429 microgrant to get them a sorely needed space heater — along with a mid-sized refrigerator and some groceries. No longer needing to worry about her basic needs, Nicole was able to secure full-time employment.

Sarah's Story

A single mom on the home stretch of earning her nursing degree, Sarah found herself at an impasse — a costly fee standing between her and her diploma. Distraught, Sarah turned to her coach, who connected her with the Crisis Support Services team. The CSS team was able to use donated funds to provide a microgrant that would cover her required $582 fee. And with that, Sarah went on to successfully complete the program and earn her diploma.

A microgrant for a learner in crisis can not only be the difference between stopping out and persevering on their learning pathway — it can show learners that we are here to support them through the obstacles life puts in their way, exactly when they need that support. Learn more about how you can make a tax-deductible donation to our emergency support microgrant initiative and support a learner in crisis today.

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