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Fresh Success helps students in need

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One of the hardest challenges that a student can face is trying to balance school and work at the same time; they worry of being able to support themselves while at the same time striving towards receiving higher education and keeping up with their grades.

To help counter this growing issue, a new program called Fresh Success has been added to the Cosumnes River College campus to help students who are a part of the CalFresh state program, also known as food stamps, receive assistance with their education.

“The whole idea of the program is to give people who are on food stamps the opportunity to be able to get the education and job skills they need to then be able to get employment that can support their household,” said Fresh Success Program Specialist Magalean Martin.

The California Community College foundation partnered with the state department of human services to develop Fresh Success as a new program at community colleges, Martin said.

Fresh Success is currently in the pilot phase of its program development. CRC is one of only two colleges in the Sacramento area that are testing this state program.

“The goal is to provide affordable services to all disadvantaged students who want to attend community college,” Martin said.

Some of the services that Fresh Success supplies to applicable students are money vouchers for textbooks, gas cards, counseling, career readiness skills and tutoring.

Since Fresh Success is a state pilot program, CRC does not control what types of requirements the state will determine are needed. Martin said that this is proving to be a disadvantage to the new project.

“We’ve had a quite a few students, 20 or so this semester, that expressed interest,” Martin said. “But so far we only have three that have actually qualified”

Fresh Success requires that a student already be enrolled in CalFresh, or be applicable, be enrolled in at least six units of non-transfer classes, and not be a part of the CalWorks program.

Martin worries that these requirements are too strict for the CRC community and will not aid a wide enough population of students.

There have been several students who have tried to apply for Fresh Success, but have been turned down due to not being able to meet all the requirements, Martin said.

Student who are seeking aid such as Kalaya Harvey, a 25 year old theater arts major, works with the daily struggle of managing her education and work.

“I’m a student who makes too much to get food stamps, but I need that money to support myself and I don’t get support from my parents,” Harvey said. “I have to work two jobs and go to school, and that’s still not enough for my situation. There’s no choice.”

One of the benefits that Fresh Success brings to the CRC community is that by joining this new pilot program, Fresh Success voids the work requirement that CalFresh requires, Martin said.

With this in mind, any student who qualifies for Fresh Success does not have to prove employment to receive financial and academic support while they attend CRC.

Fresh Success is based out of the Student Support Center in the CRC library building, room L-106. Students are encouraged to go to the office at any point to receive an application. Once the application is submitted, students will meet with a representative to begin the process of becoming registered for the program and receiving aid.

Tonya Shockley in the Department of Human Assistance is available to assist students with applying to the CalFresh program and signing up for Fresh Success. She is will be accessible in L-106 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday.

“It would be nice if they do strengthen the program so that there’s something for everyone in the middle,” Harvey said.

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Fresh Success helps students in need