USC Price Interim Report

An Evaluation of the Emergency Aid Programs at the University of Southern California and Los Angeles Community College District

Group of people walking on a sidewalk.
Originally Published: May, 2021 By H. Olson, K. Cornelious, R. Carbonneau, V. Ciudad-Real, Dr. J. Rosen, C. Barboza-Wilkes, and H. Lee Categories: Aid

The Leonetti/O’Connell Family Foundation established emergency aid programs at USC and LACCD in 2019. Although the programs differ slightly in their application and disbursement processes, both programs provide cash assistance to students experiencing financial hardships that threaten to derail their academic success.

To analyze the outcomes of the emergency aid pilots, the evaluation utilized administrative data, which included information such as the types of expenses for which students were requesting help. Additionally, the evaluation included interviews with program recipients to understand how receiving the aid impacted students’ lives.

“The USC program received 170 applications, of which it approved 81%. Awards averaged $852, for a total disbursement of almost $117,000. Meanwhile, the LACCD program granted 405 awards averaging $627 for a total disbursement of $254,000. Across both locations, applicants most often requested assistance for food, housing, and other basic needs. Both programs also received relatively high numbers of applications during March and April of 2020, the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak (COVID).”