Public Benefits Information


What are public benefits?

​​The United States government makes available public benefits for people who need help with food, healthcare, and day-to-day expenses. To qualify for each of these benefits you have to meet certain income, resource and/or health requirements.

Why is it important?

College costs have skyrocketed, making it less and less accessible for many students. After accounting for financial aid, the average full-time community college student had more than $6,000 in unmet need. Whether students can meet their financial needs often determines whether they can attend and complete college. While rising tuition costs get a lot of attention, there are many other costs students must pay – including living expenses and child care if they are parents – that often stand between them and their education. These expenses lead students to work or attend school part-time so they can make ends meet. Among young community college students, 66 percent work more than 20 hours per week to help pay for school, their home and family obligations while 58 percent attend college part-time to accommodate work. Research shows that both of these factors negatively impact college completion.




Virginia CommonHelp

CommonHelp is a web-based system that allows Virginia citizens 24/7 easy access to screen and apply for:

  • Cash Assistance (TANF)
  • Child Care Services
  • Energy Assistance (Fuel, Crisis and Cooling)
  • Food Assistance (SNAP)
  • Medical Assistance

Below you will find a quick video and guide that show how to apply for benefits.

Video: How to Apply for Assistance
Quick Guide: How to Use CommonHelp


Click here to view the CommonHelp website


Public Benefits Eligibility Screening & Application Assistance @ DCC

DCC offers low-income, pell-eligible students the opportunity to meet with a Student Success Coach for public benefits application assistance and eligibility screenings. During these sessions, students will be informed about public benefits and learn if they qualify for assistance. While working with a coach, students are able to understand and apply for needed financial subsidies that can help ease the stress of college finances.

If you would like assistance in navigating the CommonHelp website, checking for eligibility or applying for benefits, contact a Student Success Coach at 434-797-8536, or fill out the inquiry form below and a Student Success Coach will contact you to set up a meeting. 

CLASP – Benefits Access for College Completion

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