Brooklyn, NY – Beam – the end-to-end platform that streamlines equitable financial assistance and public benefit administration – today announced a new partnership with Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In collaboration with the MATC Foundation, Beam will administer more than $75,000 to MATC students, with an expected average award of $500 per student for housing, transportation, child care and other critical expenses.
MATC is Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest. The college offers more than 170 academic programs to more than 25,000 students. Beam, formerly known as Edquity, has partnered with over 40 higher education institutions to transform the administration of emergency aid. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Beam has administered over $200 million to roughly 300,000 households across the United States.
“The goal of this program is to provide support to keep students in school even when emergencies arise,” said Jason Flanders, director of finance and operations with the MATC Foundation. “By partnering with Beam to streamline emergency aid for our students with an accessible and responsive application process, we can keep MATC students focused on completing their degrees and achieving their educational goals.”
Many colleges and universities have realized that students experience unexpected financial crises that can drastically impact their educational experience, yet require relatively small amounts of funding to remedy. For example, each year, three million students drop out of college because of a financial emergency of $500 or less. To address basic needs challenges, especially as pandemic-era relief programs have largely ended, many institutions are creating emergency aid programs, which are emerging as a best practice for higher education enrollment and retention strategies.
From 2020 to 2021, the MATC Foundation provided more than $1.25 million in scholarships and over $72,500 in emergency grants to nearly 1,140 students who required additional basic needs support. To alleviate administrative burden and better evaluate the impact of the program, MATC will now leverage Beam’s end-to-end infrastructure to improve processes and speed up timelines for application, case review, and payments.
Beam’s flexible platform facilitates an equitable application and decisioning process with smart recommendations to approximate the most vulnerable students. Beam also provides fast and compliant payments that allow students to select from various payment methods, including options for the underbanked with pre-paid virtual and physical cards. Beam’s robust, compliant reporting and data will help MATC better serve students in the time of crisis with critical resources.
“We’re thrilled to launch our platform with our 55th partner, MATC. From the first conversation, it was clear that Beam could help take MATC’s incredible 10-year legacy of funding student emergency aid in service of supporting student basic needs and meeting students where they are to the next level,” said Beam Founder and CEO David Helene. “With our platform, on average, students complete applications within 7 minutes and receive funds in 24 hours, and we’re excited to help MATC improve the speed, equity, dignity, and efficacy of their broader student success work.”
Beam’s research has demonstrated that emergency aid works. For example, students who received emergency aid at Compton College in California were two times as likely to graduate as their peers who did not. To ensure funds were equitably distributed based only on the students’ reported severity of need, the aid application did not ask students for demographic or financial documentation.
Beam recently announced its $6.4 million Series A and shift from working specifically with education institutions to working with cash and benefit programs across governments and communities, at a time when Americans need access to support more than ever. The company now provides digital infrastructure for 55 government, higher education, nonprofit, and philanthropic partners across 16 states and the District of Columbia.