Concerns may include: financial difficulties that make it challenging for you to purchase academic-related items, a change in your or your families financial situation, feeling unprepared to start the class.
How can I save money?
Balancing school on top of your life can add not only stressors on your time, but also on your resources. Scroll below to learn more about a variety of resources that might be helpful in saving you money to help create more margin each month in your budget. All of the sections below are listed in more detail if you scroll down, but feel free to click the links for faster access.
SNAP goes by different names in different states in the US (i.e. California calls it CalFresh). SNAP benefits provide eligible individuals with a debit card that can be used for food at a wide variety of stores. You qualify based on your income, family size, and other eligibility requirements. You can learn more about your state's assistance and how to apply here by selecting your state from the drop-down menu. You could also google "[state's name] SNAP" and click the appropriate link.
Depending on what county you live in, you can apply in different ways. Student Wellness would recommend that you can call 2-1-1 to see if they assist with applications. Applying through your local 2-1-1 will allow you to have a direct link to your application so that it can stay on track within the county’s system. (While you are speaking with 2-1-1 you can also ask about immediate food assistance as they can provide referrals to local providers.) You can find food banks and distributions local to you through Feeding America here.
Typically SNAP takes about 30 days to process, you may qualify for SNAP Expedited Service (receiving benefits within 3 business days) if: Your household has less than $150.00 in monthly gross income and does not have assets (resources) over $100.00 OR Your household’s total monthly income and resources are less than the monthly rent or mortgage, and utilities.
If one of these things is true for you be sure to let 2-1-1 (or whoever you are applying with) know that you believe you might qualify for expedited services.
Our first recommendation is to google your utility company's name + "assistance programs" as every company will offer some type of support. Googling this will allow you to go straight to that particular page to learn more about what exists for that company. In addition to this particular assistance, LIHEAP (described below), can also be an additional resource.
At a federal level, there is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that helps "to reduce the costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization, and minor energy-related home repairs." You can learn more about LIHEAP here as well as seeing about your eligibility by state.
The following are examples of utility assistance programs available in California that can be used in addition to LIHEAP on energy bills for income-qualified households.
California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE):CARE offers around a 30% monthly bill discount. Qualification is based on participation in certain public assistance programs or by income guidelines.
Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA): If you're not eligible for CARE, you may qualify for an 18% monthly electric bill discount through FERA. FERA is only open to households with three or more people. Qualification is based on income guidelines.
There are few avenues to explore when looking to access affordable internet. Here are some suggestions on where to start:
1. Check out your local library as many public libraries are now starting to offer hotspots that you can check out and use at home (like a library book). Search your local library and then look for things like "services," "technology," and "hotspots." If you aren't able to find anything online, call the listed number and ask the librarian.
2. Utilize the Everyone On platform to search through different offerings in your zip code. The platform will ask you about a variety of potential eligibility criteria, once you make your selections you will then see what is available. It will list national programs as well as local internet provider programs.
3. If you have done the step above and selected the "Have a K-12 student or college student in your household" button you will have already seen this option, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) offers discounts on internet service in homes (up to $30/month, eligibility based on income).
Currently, the federal government has secured commitments from leading internet providers to offer ACP-eligible households a high-speed internet plan for no more than $30 per month. Eligible families who pair their ACP benefit with one of these plans can receive high-speed internet at no cost. If you are looking to combine these benefits, follow the steps here:https://www.whitehouse.gov/getinternet/
How do I access an affordable computer?
There are few avenues to explore when looking to access an affordable computer. Here are some suggestions on where to start:
1. Check out your local library as many public libraries are now starting to offer Chromebooks that you can check out and use at home (like a library book). Search your local library and then look for things like "services," "technology," "laptops," and "chromebooks." Almost every library has computers that can be used while in the library as well. If you aren't able to find anything online, call the listed number and ask the librarian. These are good options to temporarily support you while you find a longer term solution.
2. Utilize the Everyone On platform to search through different computer (and internet) offerings in your zip code. The platform will ask you about a variety of potential eligibility criteria, once you make your selections you will then see what is available. Scroll down to “Devices Offers” to view the computer options. It will list national programs as well as local internet provider programs.
Check out some of the most frequently used companies who offer student discounts. If you have a membership already, you may be able to switch over to save money each month.
2-1-1: A phone number that can be dialed in any county in the United States that will direct individuals towards various social service and community resources to assist with things like food resources, utility assistance, connection to shelters and/or safe parking programs, housing eviction prevention, etc.
Many counties also have online databases, which allow you to search your county's local resources. You can locate your local 2-1-1 here.