This year, hundreds of students found extra dollars to help pay for their education as the College launched its partnership with Single Stop USA, a nonprofit that enables us to connect students to state and federal financial resources and local community services.
The program, which began in October, has served more than 1,000 students including more than 750 students who received assistance preparing their tax returns, netting them more than $1 million in refunds to date.
In addition, Single Stop offered assistance for students who needed help navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace. On January 28, Single Stop staff launched the health care enrollment assistance sessions to familiarize students with health insurance options on Healthcare.gov and help them meet the federal deadline established for March 31, 2014.
“Working with our partners, we were able to help students enroll in health care plans that went from 12 cents per month to $120 per month, depending on their household income level,” said Paula Umaña, Single Stop project director.
The College partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Health Federation of Philadelphia, a grant-funded organization working to enroll people through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Health care navigators provided by those two organizations came to the College and worked with students in a computer lab in the Bonnell Building.
“It helped them translate all of the information that’s on the plan. Most people have about 24 plans to scroll through when they are shopping for health insurance on Healthcare.gov,” said Daniel Flynn, a health insurance counselor with Health Federation of Philadelphia.
More than 350 students attended the sessions and approximately 30 percent eventually enrolled in health care plans with monthly premiums.
Many Happy Returns
In addition to affordable health care enrollment, Single Stop’s free tax preparation services helped to provide students with a boost as well. Volunteer tax professionals from the Campaign for Working Families prepared student tax returns in Single Stop’s tax sites in the Mint Building.
Chantal Warfield, 43, a student studying to become a nurse, said normally she uses a tax preparation store, but decided to give the Single Stop tax preparers a try since it’s a free service. She’s glad she did. “It was good news,” Warfield said referring to her tax return. “They were very polite and they took their time.”
As Single Stop wrapped tax season, staff began to offer free financial empowerment workshops ranging from understanding credit reports to managing debt. Learn more about Single Stop.