Guide to Public Assistance Programs
Are you facing financial or other challenges?
Many students face challenges during their college careers. If you are struggling financially or experiencing food or housing insecurity, there may be state and federal assistance programs that can help. Our office can help you determine your eligibility for these programs and navigate the application processes.
Key questions to ask to determine if assistance programs may help:
- Do you have income or means to support yourself/your family?
- Do you have stable housing? Access to and resources to get food? Can you pay your utility bills?
- If you/your parents are recently unemployed, will you have health insurance?
- Do you have children? (if so, you may have access to special programs.)
Pennsylvania resident students can apply for assistance programs via the PA Compass website.
To learn more about any of the programs below or for assistance with applying, complete the Basic Needs Request Form to get started.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
In efforts to address food insecurity for college students, SNAP has made changes to its eligibility. You may be eligible for SNAP benefits if:
- You qualify for a work-study program (Even if you are not participating)
- You have an expected family contribution of $0 on your federal student aid determination.
If you are under 22 and live at home with your parents, you will receive a benefit commensurate to your household size.
These temporary exemptions will be in effect until 30 days after the federal government lifts the official designation of the nationwide COVID-19 public health emergency.
Broadband Internet Assistance
Students who receive Federal Pell Grants, benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or meet other income-based criteria can now apply for and receive financial assistance for broadband internet through a new federal program.
Having trouble paying your rent or utilities? Are you in arrears with your rent? The Centre County Office of Adult Services has a rent relief program that you may be eligible for. Through the COVID-19 stimulus package, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was created to assist renters in Centre County with rent and utilities. Penn State students are encouraged to apply. To view eligibility criteria and apply for this assistance, please contact the Student Insurance Advocate or visit the Centre County Government website.
Assistance Programs offered through the PA Department of Human Services
Assistance for Out-of-State Students
National lists of resources by state
Some key resources by state are listed below. If your state is not listed, please reach out for help with locating resources.