Northampton County Community College will be among seven community colleges across the nation participating in a pilot Benefits Access Project.
The aim of the project is to increase the number of students who earn post-secondary credentials.
The Benefits Access for College Completion program is a three-year $4.84 million initiative, which is being funded by the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.
It will help low-income students connect to income support including child-care subsidies and food assistance.
The goal is to see if low-income students who receive coordinated income support stay in school longer and complete their studies more quickly so that they can move into jobs earning family-sustaining wages and not need such support in the future.
According to the College Board, the average full-time community college student had more than $6,000 in unmet need during the 2011-'12 school year. The result is that 66 percent of young community college students work more than 20 hours per week to help pay for school, home and family obligations. About 58 percent attend college part time to accommodate their work.
Among the initiatives of the program is integrating existing online benefits screening tools into on-campus activities and informing students about publicly available support through existing meetings with college advisors.