Non-Profit Helps Low-Income Students Stay in School

Single Stop USA is a national non-profit organization that works to help low-income families transition to a higher standard of living. Part of the group's mission is to help students graduate from community college, and several such colleges across the nation are now partnered with Single Stop in order to help their students succeed. Schools offering Nonprofit Management & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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Poverty Among Students

The stereotype of a college student is usually a late teen to early 20s kid from an affluent background. Though the 'starving student' archetype is a part of the national consciousness, the 'starving' aspect of that stereotype is hyperbole. When we think of college students, we think of kids who might not have a lot of money to spare, and who are taking on a financial burden that may include loans, but we don't think about people struggling to pull themselves out of poverty. And while that is true of the majority, there are plenty of students who are not so privileged.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than a quarter of postsecondary students in the U.S. report annual household incomes under $20,000. On top of this, more than half of all students work in addition to going to school, in some cases working full-time jobs. Plus, 35% of college and university students are parents or guardians of dependent individuals. Clearly, earning a degree isn't all frat parties and prepaid cafeteria food for many students.

Single Stop USA

Earning a degree and finishing school is hard enough without any additional factors getting in the way. Every year, plenty of young students without kids, careers or serious financial commitments fail out of school. So the process of earning a degree, and potentially breaking out of a low-income career path, can be especially difficult for those who have other considerations to contend with.

A recent profile in The Chronicle for Higher Education detailed the on-campus work of Single Stop USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to breaking cycles of poverty. The group's central mission, according to their website, is to help 'financially vulnerable families and students gain economic mobility by connecting them to existing benefits and services intended for them.' Access to these services, which include social programs like food stamps and Medicaid, can be essential in removing barriers to success for students who are struggling to stay afloat.

Providing Help on Campus

Single Stop USA has set up offices in community colleges in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida and New Mexico. According to the group's website, they hope to expand to other states. The focus on community colleges comes from a motivation to help those who 'have a great potential for economic mobility.' Assistance in amounts as small as $300 can help students keep their bases covered and finish school. Single Stop works with students to help them learn about and obtain social services that can provide this kind of a financial safety net.

If you are a community college student, instructor, administrator or staff member interested in learning more, you can visit the Single Stop USA website. Those interested in having an office on campus should access the site to learn more about how to accomplish this. Single Stop's mission is an important one, especially considering the growing emphasis on formal credentials in many job fields.

The Internet is a great source of free educational resources, which can also be a help to low-income students.

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