During the COVID-19 pandemic, most colleges advertised emergency financial aid for students widely and repeatedly online. But some students were still unaware of the help that was available, according to new research from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and NASPA, a higher education association for student affairs administrators.

The research draws lessons from federal pandemic emergency relief funding to suggest improvements for any similar programs operated by colleges, states or the federal government in the future. Colleges should increase transparency around emergency aid processes by making funds’ availability and eligibility criteria clear, and by explaining why applications are denied, according to a report on the research findings.

At the state level, leaders should create emergency aid programs before they become necessary and add flexibility to current need-based programs to reach more students, according to the report. States should also give colleges technical assistance to help them get aid into students’ hands.

Read the full article about emergency financial aid during COVID-19 by Laura Spitalniak at Higher Education Dive.