Where students can find money, food and emergency accommodation

Students without a financial safety net are in a difficult position when unforeseen costs arise.

“The chances that their parents can foot the bill are not as high,” says Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, a research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison . “It’s not for lack of families who want it; they don’t have it.

A 2018 national survey conducted by Goldrick-Rab found that more than a third of university students out of more than 20,000 respondents said they were food insecure or had limited or uncertain access to food during the course. of the previous 30 days. And 36% of those students said they had had insecure housing in the past year, meaning they struggled to pay their housing bills or had to move frequently.

Recognizing that a financial crisis can force a student to withdraw from classes, about three-quarters of colleges and other post-secondary schools offer some form of assistance, according to a 2016 survey of college emergency assistance programs by the professional association NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Programs include cash loans and small grants, dining and pantry vouchers, and scholarships to complete a semester.

The impact can be significant. “We’ve found that if you can alleviate their needs in one place, it will free up their finances to support other things like tuition, books, housing or rent,” said Stan Jackson, director of initiatives. communication and marketing for student affairs at the University. from Georgia to Athens, Georgia.

Here are resources for students who need emergency help. Depending on your school’s policy, you may need to provide documentation of your financial needs.

Emergency financial assistance

Visit your school’s financial aid or student affairs office to inquire about emergency programs, which may include grants, scholarships, emergency loans, or vouchers. Usually, this money can pay for tuition, accommodation, books, supplies, and transportation.

For example, at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, assistance is available for students facing emergencies such as job loss, expulsion, or the shutdown of public services. The fund has provided students with more than $ 78,000 in grants and loans since 2014, according to Dave Murray, a spokesperson for the school.

Emergency food

If you don’t have constant access to food, contact your school’s student affairs office to learn more about programs such as food stamps, scholarships, free meal plans, access to SNAP benefits and pantries.

At the University of Georgia, where Jackson says 10% of the population is food insecure, students can apply for one-year food scholarships that award meal plans. There is also a pantry on campus.

Pantries typically store non-perishable foods, but some may also contain fresh foods and items such as cleaning and hygiene products, says Clare Cady, co-founder and director of the College and University Food Bank Alliance. , which has 626 member schools.

The Oregon State University pantry in Corvallis, Ore., Provides about 20,000 meals per semester, says Nicole Hindes, deputy director of the university’s human services resource center. Hindes says free dining vouchers are the most widely used program.

“They can spend time studying with their friends and feel out of place when they gather in the dining room,” says Hindes. “The pantry is more profitable, but the food assistance program is a program that students appreciate and appreciate. “

Emergency housing

Few schools have emergency accommodation and options are often limited.

“There really isn’t a good housing solution,” says Daphne Hernandez, a University of Houston researcher who is conducting a study on the effectiveness of food scholarships at Houston Community Colleges. “Four walls and a roof is a bit more difficult than food. “

Check with your school’s housing or student affairs office if there is an emergency residency program on campus. Some schools have reserved dormitories. Your school’s student affairs office can also provide you with off-campus housing solutions, including short-term sublets, apartments, youth shelters, or shared rentals.

Financial aid

College emergency assistance programs tend to be short-term solutions that are not intended to replace federal assistance. Be sure to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, each year. You may need to appeal if you don’t receive enough help or if an unforeseen situation arises, such as unemployment, medical bills, or the death of a caregiver.

To appeal for your offer of help, even mid-year, contact your school’s financial aid office. Be prepared for:

  • Detail your situation.
  • Ask the office to reconsider your aid allowance.
  • Provide any documents to support your request.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.

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Anna Helhoski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @AnnaHelhoski. The article Where Students Can Find Money, Food, and Emergency Housing originally appeared on NerdWallet.NerdWallet is a USA TODAY content partner providing personal finance information and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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