North Carolina Expands Eligibility For Food Assistance Benefits To College Students During Pandemic To Purchase Food And Stay In School
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced it is expanding eligibility for food assistance benefits to help college students who are struggling to purchase food and stay in school during the pandemic.
Some college students in North Carolina are now eligible to receive assistance through the Food and Nutrition Services program under this temporary change of benefits approved by the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced this additional assistance for college students and institutions through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grants program. The additional assistance provides ongoing relief from the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020 and will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted.
Reducing food insecurity, especially during this pandemic, is a top priority for the department, said NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being Susan Gale Perry. These benefits will help our college students stay in school and be able to safely get proper nutrition needed to learn and thrive.
Eligible students who have applied for FNS benefits will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, similar to a debit card, that can be used to purchase food at a grocery store, farmers markets or online through Amazon, Walmart, Aldi, BJs Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Carli Cs and Publix.
Increased Benefits To Your Children
When considering the benefits of college, most people only consider the direct impact of a college degree on their own lives but one of the more hidden benefits of college and earning a college degree is the positive impact it can have on the well-being of their families as well, especially their children. Not only are children of parents with a college education better off socially and economically, but studies have shown that children in households where one or both parents have a college degree are themselves more likely to earn a college degree. Earning a college degree can have a ripple effect that will influence the well-being of generations to come.
There is also an interesting correlation between a womans education and the health of her children. A study produced by Lancet, a reputable medical journal, showed that between 1970 and 2009 there was a significant decrease in infant mortality rates for women as they attained higher levels of education.
Personal Growth And Improved Self
If you arent looking for the type of career that often comes from a four-year education, you may be questioning the value of a bachelors degree.
Theres more to it than the paper, however many students have found the experience to be deeply and personally rewarding, as well. In addition to gaining skills like writing, time-management, and working on a team, there are opportunities to polish presentation skills and interact with professors and students who will, later on, become part of your valuable career network.
Earning a degree is empowering it boosts confidence and provides a sense of achievement. The pursuit of higher education also equips you to master complex challenges and overcome adversity, contributing to increased happiness and reduced stress. This may be why bachelors degree holders report higher levels of self-esteem than high school graduates.
College graduates are also more likely to be involved in their communities. Compared to non-degree holders, they are more likely to vote, volunteer, donate to charities, join community organizations, and participate in educational activities with their children. As more active citizens, bachelors degree holders contribute to a stronger, more engaged community to provide opportunities for future generations.
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The Cost Of Not Going To College Is Rising
While the cost of a four-year public institution rose by about 34% between 2005-2015, the undergraduate enrollment in post-secondary institutions rose more by 37% from 2000-2010.
You may be wondering why the attendance has grown more despite the huge increase in costs, and thats because the benefits of a higher education are growing faster than the costs.
To explain, the income of those without a degree is going down at a faster rate than the cost of tuition is going up. This means that the gap between getting a degree and not getting a degree is getting wider, faster.
But even more importantly, college tuition doesnt have to cost money at all! You can attend a fully accredited American university, tuition-free at University of the People and capture all the advantages of college education with very low costs compared to traditional universities.
Why Community Colleges Are A Better Alternative Than A Gap Year
COVID-19 has disrupted many of our lives, especially high school seniors who were excited to graduate and begin a new chapter at a university in the fall.
Here are five reasons why High School seniors should consider choosing going to a community college over a gap year.
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Other Ways To Save As A Student
If you dont qualify for a tax credit or deductionor want to find even more ways of saving on the cost of college for yourself or a loved oneplenty of other options exist. Whether you want to start a 529 savings account for your newborn or take advantage of the education savings bond program as a nontraditional learner, take a look at a few common options below.
529 Savings Plan
Existing in all 50 states and Washington, DC, 529 savings plans, also known as qualified tuition plans, help cover tuition costs for dependents by providing sponsorship from state governments, agencies, or educational institutions. They come in two forms: prepaid tuition plans and education saving plans .
PTPs allow individuals to purchase college credits at participating public schools at the current price for future students. ESPs, conversely, enable individuals to open investment accounts that they can use for tuition, fees, and room and board in the future. These can be used at any higher education institution and provide rates of return similar to a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund portfolio.
Coverdell Education Savings Account
Also known as Coverdell ESAs, these programs operate similarly to a trust or custodial account from which payments can be made for a beneficiarys qualifying educational expenses. Account owners can add up to $2,000 per year to the ESA, though none of these funds are deductible from taxes.
Early Distribution of IRAs
Education Savings Bond Program
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Can I Get Snap If I Still Live With My Parents
If you are 22 or older, and you buy and prepare more than half your meals separately from your parents, you can apply for benefits for yourself.
If you are 18-22, federal rules do not allow you to get food stamps separately from your parents, even if you barely share meals with them. If you meet one of the above eligibilityrules, you and your parents must apply for benefits together and report all family income.
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In A Crunch Tap The Ira
Its generally not a good idea to make an early withdrawal from a retirement account. Not only are you taxed on the cash, but youre also hit with a 10% penalty.
Theres a loophole, though, for qualified education expenses.
If you withdraw money to pay for college costs, youll still owe taxes, but the 10% penalty is waived.
Job Security And Satisfaction
Having a post-secondary degree typically leads to better job security. Let’s face it: if you don’t have a degree, you’re probably not as valuable to your employer. When push comes to shove it will be much easier to replace you with someone else who only completed high school.
In fact, an educated staff is so important to some companies that they will even pay for employees’ tuition. This is how valuable a college degree can be. It is seen as an investment that will bring substantial rewards, not only to the employee, but to the company as well.
Data shows that in an economic recession, college graduates are less vulnerable to layoffs. The people who suffer the most from job cuts are lower level employees who only have high school diplomas. There are no guarantees, but if you have a college degree you will be less likely to suffer long-term unemployment.
As a college graduate, it is also more likely that you will enjoy your job. All the factors listed above-higher income, employment benefits and advancement opportunities-lead to better job satisfaction. But a college degree also gives you more freedom to pursue a career that interests you, maybe even inspires you.
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Are College Students Eligible For Snap
Students, 18 to 49, attending an institution of higher education, like a college, university, trade school, or technical school more than half-time are eligible for SNAP if they meet an exemption and meet all other SNAP eligibility requirements. You can ask your school what qualifies as half-time.
A Pathway To Advancement
Have you considered a career as a physical therapist, head librarian, or nurse anesthetist? These popular jobs usually require a bachelors degree as the first step before going on to get another, more-advanced degree.
Youll also need a bachelors before any Masters or PhD, as well as the ever-popular MBA. Even if youre not sure youre up for the entire career path, earning a bachelors degree now puts you in the drivers seat should you decide to pursue it later.
Heightened Ability To Make Good Choices
Earning a college degree enables people to make better choices the rest of their lives. Not only does a college education provide an individual with new knowledge and information, it teaches them how to think critically, how to break apart and reconstruct complex issues, and how to solve problems. Earning a college degree helps people make better choices about everything from mortgage rates to investment plans to launching a new business.
Quality Education At An Affordable Price
COVID-19 has caused economic insecurity for many of us, and you, as well as your parents, may not be ready for the financial burden of a high tuition bill. While a normal gap year would offer more job opportunities and time to save up money, the current pandemic has decreased job openings and increased competition.
Community colleges are known for their affordability due to no campus housing fees, food plans and other overhead costs associated with a larger university, as well as more opportunities for students to qualify for financial aid like scholarships and grants.
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Improve Your Communication And Analytical Skills
Besides the personal life skills gained, college coursework prepares you with better overall communication skills that are beneficial for the workplace. From oral communication and presentation skills to writing, working in a team and research, higher education teaches you to see the big picture and be able to analyze situations better so that you can be a problem-solver.
News Your Snap Benefits Are Worth More
The City has received $5.5 million federal grant through the Fund for Public Health NYC to help increase access to nutritious foods and fight health inequities in New York City, the agency announced today.
The grant, from the United States Department of Agriculture , will support fruit and vegetable purchases from farmers markets and independent grocers by New Yorkers who participate in SNAP. The NYC Health Department and its partners will contribute matching funds representing an $11 million commitment to expanding equitable access to affordable fruits and vegetables.
The funding will support expansion of the Health Departments longstanding farmers market SNAP incentive program, Health Bucks. Farmers market customers now get $2 in Health Bucks for every $2 spent in SNAP benefits, a doubling of purchasing power, up to $10 in Health Bucks per day. Previously, customers received $2 in Health Bucks for every $5 spent in SNAP at farmers markets.
Under the grant, New York Citys innovative grocery store-based fruit and vegetable incentive program, Get the Good Stuff, will be expanded to additional stores. The program offers a dollar-for-dollar match on purchases of eligible fruits, vegetables and beans by New Yorkers with SNAP benefits at participating stores. For every $1 spent in SNAP benefits on eligible fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits, vegetables, and beans, program participants get $1 added to a program loyalty card, to purchase more eligible foods.
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Scholarships Make Education Easier To Access
College in the United States is expensive: the average student debt of the class of 2018 is $29,800. If youre a gifted student from a poorer background, accessing higher education can seem impossible. This is one of the key answers to the question of why are scholarships important?
No one should have their education limited due to a lack of household income. One of the most important scholarship benefits for society is that it gives us engineers, doctors, academics, nurses, lawyers, and scientists from backgrounds that would make traditional college financial aid hard to secure. Having more people in these professions is better for us as a society and helps us fill any employment gaps that would otherwise be empty.
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Us Department Of Education Announces Additional Assistance For Students And Institutions Through Heerf Grant Program And Expanded Snap Benefits
To provide ongoing relief from the COVID-19 emergency and implement provisions in the American Rescue Plan recently signed by President Biden, the U.S. Department of Education is announcing additional benefits, outreach, flexibilities, and guidance to assist students, federal student aid applicants, and institutions of higher educations.
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Youll Have More Job Opportunities
Continuing your education in any capacity will pave the way for more job opportunities.
If you dont have a college degree in the field youre pursuing, attending a community college will almost definitely open more doors for you in the job market. In fact, there are several high-paying jobs that dont require a four-year college degree.
Coverdell Or 529 Benefits
Paying for college is a tricky matter, and some parents will set up certain accounts to save for higher education. Before we get into the tax benefits for the student in general, we should point out that these plans like Coverdell Education Savings Accounts or 529 plans, offered through a state or educational institution are a good way to put cash away for a childs schooling. Be warned: Contributions you make to them are not tax-deductible, so you cant write them off on your return.
But heres where the benefits come in for the beneficiary of the plans: As long as theyre covering higher education expenses, the person who receives them doesnt have to pay tax on them. Thats a significant benefit for parents or students who are using money from 529 or Coverdell plans.
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Some College Students Can Get A Stimulus Check
Do college students get a stimulus check? The answer is: it depends. For the first stimulus check and second stimulus check, most college students didnt get either because dependents 17 years and older didnt qualify for a stimulus check. However, with the third stimulus check, there are two ways that a college student can get a stimulus check.
Remember, there are income thresholds to qualify for the third stimulus check, and they also apply to college students:
The Aotc Might Pay You
One more excellent perk of the American Opportunity Tax Credit: The $2,500 credit is refundable, meaning that if you owe less than $2,500 in taxes, youll get a refund in the amount of the difference.
If youre eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Credit for the same student in the same year, you can only choose one credit, but not both.
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How Do I Apply
You dont need to go to an office! You can apply online and receive your EBT card in the mail.
The quickest and easiest way to apply for SNAP is online at or
If you are eligible, you will be able to access your SNAP benefits no later than 30 days from the date the office received your application. If you have very little or no income for the month and you need help right away, you may qualify for SNAP benefits within seven days.
Consider That Ira For Education
If you or your family is struggling to come up with tuition money, you could benefit from a not-so-well-known part of the tax code for IRAs. Sound weird? Probably: IRAs, of course, are retirement funds. Theyre not designed for educational expenses, and youre even subject to a penalty if you touch the money before the age of 59 and a half.
But wait, theres an exception. If youre using the funds for qualified higher education expenses, the 10 percent additional tax penalty is waived for early distribution. This doesnt necessarily mean that its the best deal, though. While you wont get the additional penalty, most IRAs still require you to pay taxes on the money distributed, just like regular income . And Roth IRAs which have tax-free distributions will make you pay taxes on any earnings you take out.