Program helps AACC students

Brad Dress, Associate Editor

A program at AACC helps students in financial trouble pay for gas, medical bills and other expenses.

Help Link may lend financially troubled students up to $300 in the form of book or food vouchers, gas cards, bus tickets or paid medical bills. The program does not offer cash.

Four AACC employees manage Help Link.

Funded by the SGA, the program receives $10,000 a year to lend to students, with a goal to spend all of the money, according to Tiffany S. Boykin, the assistant dean for student services, who said Help Link reached that number for the past four years.

A student who runs into financial trouble may call Help Link at (410) 777-2511.

Beth Mays, manager of Health Services, or Janice Watley, director of the Student Achievement and Success program, meet with the students about their needs.

“The goal is to help meet the needs of students so they can be academically successful,” Boykin said.

In the meeting, students explain why they are in financial crisis and show documents that prove they need help.

According to Mays, the students must be enrolled and in “good standing” with the college to be eligible.

Mays or Watley reach out to Financial Aid for the funds the student needs. Additionally, they can direct students to the Food Pantry on the second floor of the Student Union building. Students can pick up food there only once a day.

Mays said she meets with at least two students a week, and Boykin added they see 130 to 150 students a year.

“Everyone should have an opportunity to fulfill their academic aspirations,” Mays said. “Financial stuff is a reality. … We can help to offset those little things and keep [the student] moving forward.”