Reporter’s notebook

  • House bill aims to extend SNAP benefits for college students
  • 2023 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars

House bill aims to extend SNAP benefits for college students

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-California) on Wednesday plans to introduce a bill to permanently remove barriers and expand access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility for students enrolled in college.

Gomez, who will hold a press conference to discuss the Enhance Access to SNAP (EATS) Act of 2023, said in a release that current rules unfairly restrict access to SNAP for students and impede student learning, health and stability. A temporary exemption on general SNAP college student eligibility provisions during the Covid pandemic expires on May 11. Thousands of additional community college students have qualified for SNAP benefits and have received larger benefits because of emergency authorizations.

2023 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has announced the 60 high-achieving community college students who will receive the prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The annual award provides recipients with last-dollar funding for as much as $55,000 a year, according to the foundation.

“There are so many bright and persistent community college students in our nation who we know will thrive at four-year institutions if they can find a way to transfer without being weighed down by a heavy financial burden,” Seppy Basili, the foundation’s executive director, said in a release. “We are excited to welcome yet another cohort of Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars to our community after learning about them through their applications and seeing their unbound potential.”

In addition to funding, the scholars receive comprehensive educational advising to guide them through the transition to a four-year college.

This year, more than 1,700 students from 448 community colleges applied for the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The foundation said it evaluated each application based on academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence and leadership.

(From left) Miami Dade College students Carlen Arevalo, Kayla Ribeiro, Nathalie Saladrigas and Javier Gil have received the highly competitive Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. (Photo: MDC)

Miami Dade College has four scholarship recipients, the most from one college:

  • Carlen Arevalo, who escaped gang violence in her native El Salvador, plans to transfer to Columbia University or Babson College to study business administration and marketing.
  • Javier Gil, who arrived from Venezuela in 2018, is headed to the Georgia Institute of Technology to complete a bachelor’s degree and eventually plans to pursue a law degree.
  • Nathalie Saladrigas, the daughter of Colombian and Cuban immigrants, will attend Emerson University to complete a bachelor’s degree, with a goal to eventually obtain a doctorate in political communications from Stanford University.
  • Kayla Ribeiro, who grew up in Union City, New Jersey, before moving to Miami, is transferring to John Hopkins University to continue her education in the field of coding.

Georgia Perimeter College and Wilbur Wright College in Chicago each had three students named as scholars, with several community colleges having two recipients. Among those colleges is Union College of Union County, New Jersey which for the first time has two students in one year receive the honor. (Previously, Union had a total of four students receive the scholarship.) Junaid Ilyas will graduate this spring with an engineering degree with plans to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He aims to become a vehicle engineer. Carine Medellus, who is majoring in biology, is a tutor at the college, vice president of its Research Club and serves as Leader of Scholarship for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. That’s just a sampling of her achievements.

Other community colleges with two student scholars this year include:

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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