Resources for Colleges, Faculty, Staff, and Students for COVID-19
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education recognizes that this a difficult and unprecedented time. We are here to help. Student and staff safety and health are our primary concerns; we aim to support individuals affected in any way that we can. The Office has compiled a list of community support for students and staff. If you have other resources to recommend for the list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thank you to the staff at Rochester Community and Technical College for providing the initial resource list for students.
For students and families in the Saint Paul or Minneapolis Public School Districts, GenerationNext has compiled an additional list of helpful resources. Check out their information at https://gennextmsp.org/covid-19-resources/
This document contains resources across the state to provide support during the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can find resources on the following:
- Help Finding Assistance
- Financial Support
- Student Loan Payment Assistance
- Food Resources and Support
- Healthcare and Insurance
- Legal/Minnesota Courts
- Child Care
- Internet and Technology Support
- Mental Health/Psychological First Aid
- Survivors of Domestic Violence
- Scams and Price Gouging
Help Finding Assistance
Comprehensive resources about multiple types of assistance (housing, food, transportation, etc) in your area.
- United Way 211 ‐ United Way 2-1-1 provides free and confidential health and human services information for people in Minnesota. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to connect individuals with the resources and information they need. Dial 2-1-1 anywhere in Minnesota or visit https://www.211unitedway.org/
- Minnesota Help ‐ Directory of services designed to help people in Minnesota find human services, information and referral, financial assistance, and other forms of help, https://www.minnesotahelp.info/
- Bridge to Benefits is a project by Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota to improve the well-being of families and individuals by linking them to public work support programs and tax credits. http://www.bridgetobenefits.org/Home2
- Comprehensive services map tool is a resource locator for individuals and families. The map is populated from the data from the Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota's Bridge to Benefits site. To see it, click this link: https://education.mn.gov/Maps/CompSvcs/
- Minnesota Community Action Partnership agencies - Community Action Agencies work to assist low income individuals and families access needed resources. To find your local community action agency, visit https://www.minncap.org/.
- Unemployment Insurance ‐ If your hours were reduced or lost your job because of the COVID-19 pandemic you may apply for unemployment benefits. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is encouraging people who have lost work to apply for benefits as soon as possible and to be patient as they anticipate a large amount of applications. More information: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/workers/
You may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance if:
- You are a bar, restaurant, or other worker affected by temporary closures
- You are an individual who is sick or quarantined due to COVID-19
- You are unable to work because you are caring for a person who is sick with COVID-19
- You had to quit your job due to a lack of childcare.
- Your hours were reduced, or your employer has shut down operations due to COVID-19
You can apply for unemployment insurance here https://www.uimn.org/
- Need Help Paying Bills ‐ This organization provides information on assistance programs, charity organizations, and resources that provide help paying bills, mortgage and debt relief (financial, rent and government assistance). Visit: https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/
- Check with United Way 2-1-1. A statewide hotline operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week offering a wide range of confidential human services support, including help with housing insecurity. Dial 2-1-1 anywhere in Minnesota or visit https://www.211unitedway.org/
Student Loan Payment Assistance
- Federal Student Loan Payment Assistance: To temporarily stop student loan payments ‐ The U.S. Department of Education has directed all federal student loan servicers to temporarily stop requiring payments (a forbearance) from any borrower with a federally held loan if requested by the borrower. You can request a forbearance for a period of at least 60 days, beginning on March 13, 2020. To request a forbearance/stop payment, borrowers should contact their federal student loan servicer online or by phone. To find out who your federal student loan servicer is or how to contact your federal student loan servicer, visit https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus
- Federal Student Loan Payment Assistance: Stopping payments for delinquent borrowers The U.S. Department of Education has also authorized an automatic suspension of payments for any borrower more than 31 days delinquent as of March 13, 2020, or who becomes more than 31 days delinquent on their federal student loan. Borrowers delinquent on payments do not need to take any action or contact their federal student loan servicer for payments to be stopped. https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus
Food Resources and Support
- Meals for Kids and Families During COVID-19 ‐ We're collecting information on where families and kids can go to get a free meal during Minnesota's statewide school closures.This list is by no means comprehensive and it is constantly changing as new information is available. To get the best, most recent info about a restaurant or school, be sure to call them before you visit. http://www.hungersolutions.org/2020/03/16/meals-for-kids-during-covid-19-closings/
- School Meals ‐ Children (under age 18) ‐ During COVID-19, local schools and school districts are making school meals available. Please check with your local school or district for more information https://education.mn.gov/MDE/dse/health/covid19/fnscovid19/
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ‐ SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps, helps Minnesotans with low incomes get the food they need for nutritious and well-balanced meals. The program provides support to help stretch your household food budget. It is not intended to meet all of your household's food needs. It is a supplement. If you are approved for SNAP, you can use your benefits at many stores, farmers markets and senior dining sites. For more information on SNAP eligibility and application process, visit SNAP.
- Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) ‐ WIC is a nutrition and breastfeeding program that helps young families eat well and be healthy. WIC helps pregnant woman learn about nutritious foods for a healthy pregnancy and birth, support breastfeeding, and helps families provide nutritious foods to their young children so they are healthy, happy and ready to learn. Women who are pregnant or nursing or individuals with a child under the age of five may be eligible for WIC. To find a WIC Clinic near you or for more information about WIC, visit https://www.health.state.mn.us/people/wic/
- Other food assistance programs ‐ Get help from food shelves, food banks and organizations that offer free meals. To find these in your area:
- Many Minnesota communities have food pantries. Visit https://www.foodpantries.org/st/minnesota to find a pantry in your city.
- Visit the Minnesota Hunger Partners website, www.mnhungerpartners.org
- Call the Minnesota Food Helpline at 888-711-1151 Connects individuals to food resources statewide. Operates M-F 8:30am-4:30pm.
- Check the www.MinnesotaHelp.info website for a list of emergency food resources.
Healthcare and Insurance
- Health Insurance Response to COVID‐19 ‐ Health insurance providers are taking action by providing co-pays, coronavirus testing, prescription assistance, and information hotlines. Visit https://www.ahip.org/health-insurance-providers-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19/ to view a list of insurance providers to get more information on available resources.
- MNsure and Medical Insurance ‐ If you are uninsured you may be eligible to enroll in Medicaid and MNsure programs to gain access to low-cost health insurance coverage that meets your needs. When you apply for financial help thought MNsure you will also find out if you qualify for Medical Assistance and Minnesota Care that provides low-cost to no-cost health insurance. For information on eligibility and enrollment, visit https://www.mnsure.org/
Minnesota courts have changed practices and timelines for court-related business due to COVID-19. Some cases have been postponed until after March 31, others continue. All courts are restricting in-person access to facilities. For information related to court changes for
Comprehensive resources to help you find employment due to layoff or the school year ending.
- Housing for on-campus students ‐ Many campuses are working to accommodate emergency housing for students currently living in residence halls who have no other housing options. Students should work with their student services and residential life offices to identify options.
- Federal housing assistance ‐ The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development maintains this list of local housing authorities to contact for help accessing federal housing assistance programs, such as Section 8 vouchers and public housing. For more information, visit Find Your Local Public Housing Agency (PHA)
- State and county housing assistance ‐ Various forms of housing assistance are provided through state and county programs. Minnesota Housing, our State's housing finance agency, provides a list of services.
- Community-Specific Housing Resources - Check with United Way 2-1-1. A statewide hotline operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week offering a wide range of confidential human services support, including help with housing insecurity. Dial 2-1-1 anywhere in Minnesota or visit https://www.211unitedway.org/
- Parents/Guardians needing child care resources can call Child Care Aware of MN at 1-888-291-9811 or go to www.parentaware.orgto search on-line for child care options
- Available child care for emergency workers - Under the Governor's Executive Order 20-02, schools are directed to provide care to, at a minimum, district-enrolled students aged 12 and under, for the children of emergency workers. To find out who qualifies as an emergency worker, please visit the .Minnesota Department of Education webpage. Please check with your local school district for more information.
- YMCA Sites offering school age care for children in kindergarten through sixth grade (K-6) from 8:30 a.m. 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. These sites will operate in accordance with guidelines from the Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3anXo82
Internet and Technology Support
- Minneapolis: The City of Minneapolis is providing free WiFi in Minneapolis for those who may need temporary internet access during the COVID situation. http://www.minneapolismn.gov/wireless/index.htm
- Cable providers ‐ Many internet providers are allowing students and families to have needed technology and access to the internet. Please check with the cable provider in your area.
- Comcast Internet Essentials Help for low-income families to connect to the Internet at home.For all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program's Internet service has increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. To learn more, visit https://www.internetessentials.com/covid19
- Charter (Spectrum) Communications is offering free Spectrum broadband and WiFi access for 60 days in home for K-12 and/or college students that do not have an existing Spectrum service up to 100 Mbps. To learn more, visit https://www.spectrum.com/browse/content/spectrum-internet-assist.html
Mental Health/ Psychological First Aid
Managing stress and mental health during times of distress for staff, students, and families. The following resources have been compiled to give more information about psychological first aid, how to practice self-care during an emergency, and how to discuss COVID-19 with children.
Survivors of Domestic Violence
For some individuals staying at home is not the safest option right now. If individuals worried about having to self-isolate in a dangerous home situation, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233, TTY 1-800-787-3224, or chat at thehotline.org Learn more about how survivors can stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic by visiting www.thehotline.org.
Additional information and resources can also be found from the following webpages:
- Car Rentals Enterprise is reducing the minimum age to rent a car to 18 through May 31, to allow for college students to get home to families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is also waiving the young renter fees for rentals during this time. For more information visit the following sites:
Many residential utility companies are working to ensure that Minnesotans are adequately protected by suspending customer disconnections, arranging payment plans, and extending cold weather rule protections. To see a list of companies agreeing to not disconnect services during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://fresh-energy.org/mn-utility-responses-covid-19/
Scams and Price Gouging
The Attorney General's Office provides information on potential COVID-19 scams. If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 scam, please call (651) 296-3353 (Metro) or (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota) or use this link to File a Complaint.