Housing and Food Insecurity Grant

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Inver Hills receives $30,000 from EAPS Grant Program

Inver Hills Community College is one of six colleges and universities in Minnesota to receive state grants to help address housing and food insecurity in their student communities. The Emergency Assistance for Postsecondary Students (EAPS) Grant Program, signed into law last year by Governor Mark Dayton, dedicates $175,000 each year to Minnesota postsecondary institutions with a demonstrable homeless population to support the retention of students facing food or housing insecurities. Sixteen schools competed for grants in the first round.

“Sometimes college students think back rather fondly to the days of eating nothing but Ramen noodles or popcorn, or even having to crash temporarily on a friend’s sofa,” said Commissioner Larry Pogemiller, Office of Higher Education. “But for many students, food and housing insecurity pose a real threat to successfully completing their postsecondary education. We know from schools currently providing emergency services to students, such as those supported by these grants, that they can be very effective in keeping students enrolled.”

A 2015 survey conducted by MinnPost indicated that nearly 16 percent of students at Minnesota postsecondary institutions have struggled to buy food and 10 percent have experienced temporary homelessness while in school. A recent survey conducted by Boynton Health Services at the University of Minnesota found that 10 percent of U students didn’t have adequate food and over 17 percent worried about running out.

“Inver Hills has been making emergency grants to students for years, but this will give us the opportunity to expand our reach and serve more students.”
— Wendy Robinson, Vice President of Student Affairs, Inver Hills Community College

Grant applicants could either create new emergency grant programs or supplement existing emergency grant programs with their award. The maximum award is $43,000 with a required 25 percent institution match.

Wendy Robinson, vice president of student affairs at Inver Hills, welcomes the grant dollars as another way to help students overcome obstacles and complete their college educations.

“We’re very pleased to have been selected for this grant,” Wendy said. “Inver Hills has been making emergency grants to students for years, but this will give us the opportunity to expand our reach and serve more students. We know that a moment of crisis can make it seem challenging to stay in school, so these grants combined with other campus resources can make a big difference in a student’s life.”

“College takes tremendous focus to be successful. Students suffering from food and housing insecurity will always be more worried about their next meal or where they will sleep that night than they will about classes. This grant will alleviate that fear for some students and allow them the best opportunity to succeed and improve their quality of life.”
— Dave Zelm, Student Senate President, U.S. Air Force Veteran

Kari Rusch-Curl, dean of student success and retention at Inver Hills, was instrumental in the process of submitting a successful grant application. She worked in close consultation with the college’s counselors.

“We are very grateful to receive this award,” Kari said. “We know that having a financial emergency such as a car breaking down can often derail a student’s academic progress. The availability of this new funding provides Inver Hills with an opportunity to make some improvements in our Acts of Kindness process, help additional recipients, and increase the individual award from our current $500 to $1,000.”

Kari added that she and her colleagues feel strongly that this increased amount will have a greater impact on a student’s ability to persist through the semester and get closer to earning a degree.

“We look forward to working with students to help them achieve their educational goals,” she said.

Other grant recipients:

  • St. Catherine University, St. Paul: $30,000
  • Century College, White Bear Lake: $37,500
  • Pine Technical and Community College, Pine City: $20,000
  • Normandale Community College, Bloomington: $37,500
  • White Earth Tribal and Community College, Mahnomen: $20,000
To learn more about the EAPS Grant, contact:

Kari Rusch-Curl
Dean of Student Success & Retention
Inver Hills Community College
651-450-3887

Or…

Sandy Connolly
Director of Communications
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
651-259-3902

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