Bridge To Benefit Offers Students With Children a Path to Assistance Programs

Bag of groceries with heading "Need cash for groceries?" Take 15 minutes to qualify for SNAP benefits, reduced utility bills, free healthcare and more. Email

Posted May 7, 2020


By LENNY KOUPAL, CSU Communications Coordinator

Bridge to Benefits, a resource for students with dependent children, helps connects students in need with a variety of programs including SNAP, WIC, MNSure and Utility Reduction Grants.

Liz Steinborn Gourley, director of the Women’s Center, is encouraging students to complete the assessment to determine if they quality for assistance programs.

“I discovered Bridge to Benefits while looking for resources for student parents. It’s run by the Children’s Defense Fund and connects folks to such programs as SNAP, WIC, MNSure and a utility reduction grant,”Steinborn-Gourley said. “If folks have children under 18 regardless of their citizenship status they can likely qualify for healthcare, and food programs.

Steinborn-Gourley said she conducted a training for assisting students for about 30 staff members last August.

“A few of us have been working with students to complete the assessment” she said. “At last count 30 students have been doing these assessments and are qualifying for SNAP and reduced utility costs.”

The assessment application at is accessible to students with the USERNAME: mnsustudent and PASSWORD: b2b1. The process requests such information as monthly income, marital status, number of children, monthly rent and out-of-pocket expenses for school-aged children.

International and undocumented students may be eligible to enroll in some of the programs, especially if they have children. Steinborn-Gourley encourages students to complete the assessment to determine if they quality. She also advises that they contact Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid at 612-334-5970 before applying for any program.

For assistance completing the Bridge to Benefits Assessment, email the Women’s Center at

The assessment will determine qualification for assistance in such areas as

  • Health Insurance Programs
  • Energy Assistance
  • Supplemented Nutrition Assistance
  • Women, Infants and Children
  • School Meal Program (free and reduced lunch)
  • Child Care Assistance
  • Early Learning Scholarships
  • Earned Incom and/or Working Family Tax Credit

Steinborn-Gourley said efforts are underway to add the Bridge to Benefits information to the Women’s Center website, the University’s Emergency Grant site and information available through the Nontraditional Student Resource page.


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