What We Do

When students need money, they are stressed and at risk of leaving college.  To be effective, funds must be delivered quickly and without putting them through hassles.  While the dollars distributed by the FAST Fund may be relatively small (hundreds rather than thousands), they matter most because they come right on time, without an extensive application, and they are given by someone who cares.

That’s where the faculty come in. FAST= Faculty and Students Together

Emergency aid for college students is typically administered by institutions using highly bureaucratic processes that double down the problems in the current financial aid system. Time-consuming applications pretend to sort deserving from “undeserving” students, and long waiting periods and other requirements claim to help students put “skin in the game.”

The evidence is clear:  Deserving students are everywhere, and their desire for an education is all the commitment we need to observe.

So we take the opposite approach.  We give the money to professors, and they give it to students.  We only ask that they abide by four simple evidence-based principles:

  1. Help students. Put your care for them front and center.
  2. Don’t ask students to do prohibitive paperwork. This includes not requiring the FAFSA, or asking them to “prove” their need, grades, or other requirements.
  3. Move quickly. Make a decision without imposing a waiting period.
  4. Just give. No need to name the donor, thank the Fund, or file a lot of paperwork.

Our founder, Sara Goldrick-Rab, credits her grandfather for inspiring this approach. When she needed help in college, he was always there. “It’s what family does,” he told her.  By treating students like family, faculty around the country can create a culture of caring that helps even the most vulnerable people earn their degrees.