News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kim Schmelz, External Relations & Alumni Development
Phone: 608.822.2379
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date: February 29, 2016

$39,700 Grant Supports Student Emergency Fund at Southwest Tech

Fennimore- WI 02/29/16 -

Southwest Tech now has additional resources to help low-income students weather financial emergencies. Students can apply for small grants to help cover expenses just beyond their means, which allows them to quickly return focus to their academic pursuits.

The student emergency grant program at Southwest Tech is supported by a $39,700 Dash emergency grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. This grant allows Southwest Tech to continue a program that was established three years ago through a separate grant from Great Lakes.

“The emergency grants we made during the pilot grant were vital to keeping our most at-risk students enrolled during a time of crisis,” said Barb Tucker, Southwest Tech Director of Institutional Advancement. “As a small, rural college, reliable transportation is critical to our students’ success. More than 63 percent of the grants we made allowed students to make essential car repairs and receive transportation assistance. If our college hadn’t been able to meet the immediate needs of these students, I have no doubt that many of them would have dropped out.”

Southwest Tech is one of 31 community and technical colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin that received a combined $1.5 million in Great Lakes Dash grants to expand emergency grant programs that help low-income students overcome financial obstacles and stay on the path to graduation.

“Great Lakes is pleased to provide more resources to colleges like Southwest Tech that are dedicated to supporting students in times of greatest need,” said Richard D. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Lakes. “Emergency grants are a bridge to college completion and the financial security a degree can provide.”

Southwest Tech will continue making student emergency grants of up to $500 each in spring 2016. Qualified expenses will be paid within 48 hours of an approved application. Students also will be referred to additional campus, community, and financial literacy resources to supplement the grants, address root causes or contributing factors to the financial emergencies, and further support students’ persistence.

To serve greater numbers of students throughout the Great Lakes grant period and beyond, the Southwest Tech Foundation will contribute matching funds of $32,300 for a total of $67,000 available during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years.

Southwest Tech’s emergency fund will be called Charger Dream Fund. The Southwest Tech Foundation will be working with businesses and community members to raise the matching funds needed for the grant.

“Our alumni, friends, and business partners will have an opportunity to help us support and retain our students so they can continue their education and achieve their dreams,” said Holly Clendenen, Executive Director of the Southwest Tech Foundation.

To learn more about how to support the Charger Dream Fund, please contact the Southwest Tech Foundation at 608-822-2362, email, or donate online.

About Great Lakes: Dedicated to making college education a reality since 1967.

Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, Great Lakes has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to more than 8 million borrowers—as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. The group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected education philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, Great Lakes has committed nearly $174 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low-income students, and first-generation students. For additional information, visit

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