Contact: Katryn Conlin, Communications Director
For Immediate Release
Education and Training Partnership with state SNAP program will allow MSC Southeast to expand impact on students' lives
Winona and Red Wing, MN (September 22, 2020) - Minnesota 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 on September 17, 2020.
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. Minnesota State College Southeast has been awarded a grant for up to $572,000, which will provide reimbursement for 50% of the college's expenses in providing support services to students who are receiving SNAP benefits.
Through the grant, 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. The college will help 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 destigmatize 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.
This fall, Minnesota State College Southeast also received funding from Winona and Goodhue counties in the form of SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Partnership) grants to enable the college to renovate and expand the free food pantries on its Red Wing and Winona campuses. This will allow the self-serve food pantries to offer a greater variety of food, especially more fresh foods and vegetables.
In addition, the college has opened a new AmeriCorps position for a Basic Needs Outreach Coordinator. This person in this role will work on food insecurity prevention efforts, support student access to MNSure, facilitate transportation services, and explore funding opportunities for basic needs services (for more information to apply, see www.southeastmn.edu/HR).
"All of these partnerships and grants are helping us in our mission to ensure student success at Southeast," said Josiah Litant. "We are building a structure that will support students in moving out of poverty and into a better life."
About Minnesota State College Southeast
Minnesota State College Southeast is a two-year technical and community college that prepares students for a lifetime of learning by providing education for employment, skill enhancement, retraining, and transfer, to meet the needs of students and the community. The Winona campus opened in 1949, merging with the Red Wing campus in 1992 and updating its name to Minnesota State College Southeast in 2016 with the change of mission to offer both technical training and the associate of arts degree. Minnesota State College Southeast is a member of Minnesota State. For more information, visit www.southeastmn.edu.