The Panther Retention Grant program at Georgia State University (GSU) is one such program. Started in 2011 with a $40,000 donation from GSU President Mark Becker and his wife, the program has since provided over 4,287 grants to students with an average value of approximately $900.
The university's data system proactively flags low-income students who are about to be dropped from enrollment due to nonpayment of tuition, and then prioritizes grants to those who are closest to graduation and who have the smallest unpaid balance. Between 2011 and 2013, GSU's overall completion rate rose to 53 percent from 47 percent.
What's also encouraging is that graduation rates for low-income, African-American, and Latino students at the school have come to match those of white and higher-income students.
The Dreamkeepers program of Scholarship America is another example, in this case targeted at students at community colleges.
Dreamkeepers works with 41 affiliated two-year colleges to provide emergency grants to students to keep them in school. In 2014, the program helped 1,545 students with grants averaging $445.