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SNAP partnership will allow MSC Southeast to expand impact on students' lives

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Education and Training Partnership with state SNAP program will allow MSC Southeast to expand impact on students' lives

Pantry Food ItemsMinnesota State College Southeast is now one of only a handful of organizations in southeast Minnesota which partners with the SNAP program to offer education and training services. The college signed a SNAP E&T partnership agreement this fall.

The SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency. 

Through the Education and Training (E&T) partnership, the college will provide education and training to recipients of SNAP dollars so they will be better prepared to find regular employment that leads to economic independence. 

College staff will begin by helping students identify whether they are eligible for SNAP, and if so, help them apply and get enrolled in the program.

"So many students are in need. The cost of education has gone up, it's hard to work and go to school at the same time, and employment options are closed off right now due to COVID-19," said Josiah Litant, MSC Southeast Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. "We can make sure that people are knowledgeable about the funding available through SNAP and have help in accessing those resources. We are trying to remove the stigma around these critical supports, as we work to help students on a path towards greater independent financial stability." 

When students don't complete their education, it's often because of outside pressures such as finances, food insecurity, childcare, access to housing and transportation, or other non-academic issues. 

Because of the SNAP E&T partnership, MSC Southeast will be able to invest much more in support services to help students overcome these challenges and graduate with the skills they need to find employment.

"The money we are getting through this grant will not just be used to support SNAP students. While we will invest in supports for that population, we can actually use the funds broadly and the college will be investing them in programming, staffing, and outreach to support many of our student needs," explained Josiah Litant.

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