Rock Valley College

Public Benefits

There are more benefits available than just Financial Aid...

There are many public benefits available to the community, as well as students. Students who meet the special eligibility criteria may be able to receive benefits from the Department of Human Services. These benefits are food, cash, and health insurance.

Food: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

SNAP (food stamps) is a food assistance program that helps low-income people buy food. Benefits can be used to purchase food items at grocery stores and convenience stores. Benefits are put on a LINK card. Your SNAP unit size is anyone you buy and prepare food with, it does not have to include everyone you live with.

Qualifying Member Units are SNAP units with someone who is over the age of 60, blind, or disabled in the household. SNAP units with a qualifying member have a higher income standard (see below). If you are a student who is enrolled half time or more, you may be required to meet an additional requirement. Click here to see if you meet one of the additional requirements.

Income Requirements: Maximum Gross Income Standard is the maximum amount of income before taxes you can receive for your unit size to be eligible for food stamps. For 1 person, that is $1,245 before taxes. For additional SNAP unit sizes, see below.                                                                  


SNAP  Unit Size


Maximum Gross Income   Standard (130%) Nonqualifying Member Units


Maximum Gross Income   Standard (200%) Qualifying Member Units


1   Person






2   Persons






3   Persons






4   Persons






5   Persons






6   Persons






7   Persons






8   Persons






9   Persons






10   Persons






Each   Additional Member






Cash: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

TANF is Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. It provides cash assistance and supportive services to families with children under the age of 19. To be eligible, you must have a child under the age of 19 that lives with you, meet an income test, and meet with DHS to create and follow a responsibility plan that includes work and training goals. The child does not have to be your biological child. It can also be a relative child you care for.

Supportive Services may include: child care, transportation expenses, mandatory fees (background checks, assessment tests), books and supplies for school, money for uniforms and work attire, and required physicals/medical services related to obtaining employment.

Health Insurance: Medicaid

Medicaid provides healthcare coverage for low-income people at a greatly reduced cost. Depending on your family's income, you may have to pay a monthly premium and co-pays for services. Medicaid provides coverage for hospital services, maternity care, eye glasses, etc.

Eligibility: If your income is less than $1,342 per month, you may be eligible for coverage under Medicaid. 

How to Apply

1. If you’re unsure if you’re eligible, use the screening tools located here:

2. If you think you’re eligible, apply for benefits online at or fill out a paper application. Paper applications can be located online or at your local DHS office.

3. If you think you’re eligible, but you want to find out more information, stop by the Student Development Office at the Stenstrom Center for Career Education or visit the public benefits table in the commons on Mondays from 11-2pm. We are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding these benefits!