Resources for students in need
Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:01
While one might think that a college student's biggest fear comes from passing classes, grades will often take a back seat to a more basic need, such as food. Many students have never lived on their own before, and even for those that have, it can be difficult to earn enough to pay for bills and groceries, and all while attending classes. Thankfully, there are resources from the government, local charities and local companies that can help.
One of these many resources is the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Link program. S.N.A.P. is a government-based program that assists low income people and families in putting healthy foods in their home. There are many factors that play a role in determining if a person or family is eligible to receive S.N.A.P. Students must be of ages 18 to 50 and registered as at least half the course load of a full time student at an institute of higher education to be eligible for S.N.A.P. benefits.
"An institute of higher education is defined as a business, technical, trade or vocational school that normally requires a high school diploma or the equivalent for enrollment in the course of study; or regular courses or a college or university that offers degree programs," according to illinoislegaladvocate.org.
Some non-citizens are eligible to receive SNAP benefits, too, but it is a slim list that has strict guidelines.
There are many other factors that are considered in receiving SNAP. For more information on how to apply, visit www.dhs.state.il.us or www.illinoislegaladvocate.org and search for SNAP.
For students who may need assistance in academics, Parkland provides assistance for students that plan to transfer to a four-year college or university through the TRiO program. TRiO is a program devoted to supplying opportunities for academic improvement and personal enrichment. Students that can join are Parkland students who are enrolled full-time with the goal of graduating or graduating and transferring and who demonstrates academic need for support services as determined by placement scores.
In addition, the student must meet any one of the following criteria for eligibility; the student must be a first-generation college student (neither parent/guardian graduated from a 4 year college), demonstrate financial need according to federal income guidelines (Pell Grant eligibility), or have a documented disability (registered with Office of Disability Services at Parkland College).
Shannon Reynolds, 20, is in her second semester in the TRiO program. "The meetings with my TRiO Advisor have definitely helped me the most," she said. "They are very encouraging and want what's best for you." Reynolds was recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship, too, and said that, "it will go a long way." She also noted that TRiO is part of the reason she was able to earn straight A's last semester.
Reynolds said that her advice to other Parkland students would be to apply for the program. "They may give you the boost that you need to help give you a better college experience," she said. Reynolds hopes to graduate in May and has plans to transfer to Illinois Southern University.
To apply for TRiO, a person can pick up an application at the TRiO/SSS office (A244), contact the TRIO/SSS Office and request an application (353-2267), or log in to my.parkland.edu/stuservices/trio to print out an application. The program is only funded to serve 180 students per academic year. Therefore, admittance into the program is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Many students struggle to get by on a regular basis. It is important for those who do struggle to reach out for help to the appropriate authorities. There are many programs that exist to help students. These programs are put in place to help the students achieve goals towards a better and brighter future, whether it is higher education or simply being able to afford food.