Integrating Public Benefits into Campus Services


Integrating Public Benefits into Campus Services to Facilitate College Completion

Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield, BACC Director, CLASP October 30, 2014 [email protected]

CLASP and the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success

• • Through

careful research and analysis and effective advocacy


develops and promotes new ideas, mobilizes others, and directly assists governments and advocates

to put in place successful strategies that deliver results that matter to people across America.

C-PES advocates for

better policies


more investment

, and

increased political will

to increase the number of low-income adults and disadvantaged youth who earn postsecondary credentials that are essential to opening doors to good jobs, career advancement, and economic mobility.


Who are colleges serving?

Yesterday’s Nontraditional Student Is Today’s Traditional Student






Employed Full-Time


of all students are low-income


What are the statistics?

• • •

Among community college students: 40%

do not complete any degree in 6 years and are not enrolled

31% 50%

receive financial aid have unmet need after financial aid • •

Among all students: 66%

the proportion of the cost of attendance left after tuition, fees and books


said they dropped out to go to make money


Why holistic support?


Reasons for Leaving School


Providing students who are struggling to make ends meet with information about public benefits and assistance in applying for them will improve student success and college completion rates and reduce material hardship .


Benefits Access for College Completion

• An initiative geared toward increasing access to public benefits for community college students • Supporting colleges developing sustainable models that build benefits access into the everyday activities across the college • BACC is a partnership between CLASP, the American Association of Community Colleges and five foundations 8

Participating Colleges

• Cuyahoga Community College (OH) • Gateway Community and Technical College (KY) • LaGuardia Community College (NY) • Lake Michigan College (MI) • • Macomb Community College (MI) Northampton Community College (PA) • Skyline College (CA) 9

What are

public benefits


• • • • • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Health insurance (Medicaid and CHIP) Family programs  TANF, child care subsidies, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food and formula, free and reduced school lunch Refundable Tax Credits  Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) & American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) Special programs  Disability benefits, Veterans benefits, UI, TAA, WIA ITAs and other supports 10

Why don’t more students access benefits?

• • • Lack of information, misinformation about eligibility  Don ’ t know that programs exist  Think they are not eligible  Do not know how to apply or where to get help   Feel the benefit is not worth the hassle Do not see themselves as target for public benefit programs Applying is often time consuming, frustrating  Same information collected  multiple times Need documentation of income, family status Stigma and other social/cultural barriers


Low-Income Parents

• • Eligible for wide range of programs – Some programs are limited to families with children – Others are open to childless adults, but are more generous or have fewer restrictions for parents Few receive all programs they are eligible for: – Some programs have capped funding – Eligible individuals may not know about programs, or may be deterred by the burden of establishing and maintaining eligibility


Low-Income Parents

• •

Likely to receive

(> 80%) EITC Health insurance for kids (and parents in expansion states) • •

Probably receive

(50-80%) Health insurance for parents (not expansion states) SNAP (Food Stamps) and WIC •

Might receive

(<50%) TANF, child care subsidies, housing subsidies


Low-Income Childless Adults (no disability)

• •

Probably receive

(50-80%) EITC – – Only eligible if aged 25-64 max of $496 per year SNAP (Food Stamps) – Students are subject to extra rules • •

Might receive

(<50%) Housing subsidies Public health insurance (depends upon if reside in expansion state)

News Flash: Health Exchanges and Medicaid Eligibility Changes in 2014

• • Beginning January 1, 2014, many states expanded Medicaid to all non-elderly adults and children up to 133% of the federal poverty level   $14,484 for an individual $29,725 for a family of four Enrollment for the health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion fully online


28 States Are Expanding Medicaid

• • • • • •

How are Colleges Helping Students Access Public Benefits?


students about the existence of programs


students understand how to apply


students to determine if they are eligible and assist them to apply


students to provide needed documentation and understand any barriers to eligibility


with benefits programs/local offices to troubleshoot on behalf of individual students


for policy changes that streamline benefits receipt for students

BACC College Strategy Highlights

• • • Engage a broad-based team to embed activities across college Cultivate leadership Develop a process for engaging students that includes:   Reaching out to students in multiple ways Setting up places to apply depending on student needs   Helping students apply and submit documentation Providing follow-up assistance to ensure students receive benefits 18

BACC College Strategy Highlights

• Use data to identify students, target services or activities, and continuously improve • Integrate benefits discussions/application into financial aid, career services, support services, advising and counseling processes • Integrate a module about benefits in orientation, student success courses, and other courses • Use students to help market, do outreach, and serve students • Where available, use online eligibility screeners and online applications to assist students 19

Online Access to Public Benefits

• Virtually all states have made basic program info for the five state-administered, low-income benefit programs available online: – SNAP, CHIP, Medicaid, TANF, and child care assistance • Many states go further, providing application forms and allowing individuals to apply online

Getting Started

• • • Identify the need on your campus Seek buy-in from leadership • • Seek out individuals on campus and in the community already doing this work • Identify existing resources in your state or county that could help students (i.e. online screening tools or applications) Form a committed team Create an action plan 21

Questions for Attendees

Do any of you provide benefits access on campus?

If not, have you noticed students expressing needs you can’t meet? What do you do in those cases?