Giving Compass' Take:

• Amelia Harper explains that as the name suggests, microgrants are small grants awarded to students for necessary items like textbooks, clothing, and meals to help them succeed in college. 

• The article notes that microgrants may be a more affordable version of philanthropy. Could this fit into your giving strategy?

• Read more about college microgrant programs for students.

Microgrants, which consist of money raised through fundraising efforts and donations, allow schools and districts to offer smaller grants to students for items such as books, necessary clothing or supplemental college funds needed to help them persist through postsecondary education, Forbes reports.

The idea of these microgrants is credited as having started through schools in the KIPP charter school network in the District of Columbia, where the Carol and Eugene Ludwig College Match Fund helps high school seniors transition to colleges with higher graduation rates, and the Carol & Eugene Ludwig Persistence Fund helps graduates from KIPP fill financial gaps that may derail their college journey.

Some schools are taking the responsibility of education further than high school graduation to help meet the needs of students who struggle to make it to or through college because of financial setbacks.

The use of microgrants to expand college access for students is a worthy goal. But the idea of microgrants could also be easily applied to meet other needs at the K-12 level. School leaders used to largely assume that a student’s basic human needs were being met by parents, but that assumption, which was often false even in the past, certainly does not hold true today.

The community school model is becoming an increasingly popular way to meet some of these needs, but the idea of microgrants may also provide a way to offer affordable philanthropy options to community and business partners that may want to offer a helping hand to students who need support to survive and thrive until they can make it on their own.

Read the full article about microgrants by Amelia Harper at Education Dive.