Low-Income Student Support

TBR's Beyond Financial Aid Initiative

History of the Project

In March, 2016, TBR campus teams were convened in Nashville to discuss the beta version of the Lumina Foundation's Beyond Financial Aid (BFA) assessment guide. A copy of the meeting materials can be accessed here.  Each campus conducted a self-study of how they currently support low-income students and areas for improvement. The data from the self-studies guided campuses to create campus plans for how they would address areas of concern in the coming academic year. The System Office applied for and received funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support four AmeriCorps VISTA members for the 2016-17 academic year to build capacity around resources and services to support low-income students at each of the 46 TBR Institutions. 

In 2017, the TBR System Office received funding from the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS) to support four AmeriCorps VISTA members to build capacity among 46 institutions of higher education in Tennessee. The objective was to provide support services to assist low-income individuals to enroll and complete a certificate or credential, with the ultimate goal of breaking the cycle of poverty. VISTA members will develop initiatives and process that increase the number of low-income and veteran students entering a Tennessee postsecondary institution, with particular attention towards recent high school graduates and returning adult learners. The resources found on this page were created as a result of the VISTA member support.

Focus Areas Included:

1. Review data to identify low-income students and better understand their needs within TBR institutions.

2. Partner with TBR institutions in the development of financial aid packages that extend beyond tuition support to include benefits such as food assistance and health care. 

3. Identify TBR and state-level policies that inhibit low-income student enrollment and persistence.             

4. Identify ways to increase student academic progression and use data to develop campus-level interventions.

5. Leverage relationship with TN Promise partnering organizations, local, and regional services agencies to facilitate outreach to low income and veteran students to enrollin postsecondary education.

6. Develop a system-level plan to assist TBR institutions in the implementation of financial literacy training for all incoming students.

7. Develop career service outreach plans for TBR institutions to expand job placement services for students from low-income backgrounds.


Combating Food Insecurity

TBR COVID-19 Student Resource Guide - Resources to share with students facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Training Resources

Combating Food Insecurity - Presentation Recording - "Combating Food Insecurity: SNAP and Food Pantry Resources," TBR virtual training on September 10, 2020

Combating Food Insecurity - Presentation PowerPoint Slides - "Combating Food Insecurity: SNAP and Food Pantry Resources," TBR virtual training on September 10, 2020

Advising Student Referrals - Presentation PowerPoint Slides - "Effective Referrals for Low-Income Student Supports," TBR virtual training for Academic Advisors on November 12, 2020

SNAP Resources


PDF icon SNAP College Student Eligibility Flyer PDF icon SNAP College Student Guide Brochure PDF icon SNAP Medical Deductions Flyer PDF icon SNAP = More Food at Home Flyer

Video: SNAP Benefits for College Students - Created by Chattanooga State Community College

Sign-Up: Monthly Nutrition Newsletter - Created by the Tennessee Justice Center's nutrition advocacy team

Sign-Up: Quarterly College Hunger Calls - Led by the Tennessee Justice Center; email Signe Anderson (sanderson@tnjustice.org) to join the call list. 

Food Pantry Resources

Grant Opportunity: The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) will be offering a mini grant opportunity to assist with the establishment of campus food pantries. These grants aim to address the environmental, social, and economic challenges associated with food insecurity and food waste generation throughout the state. This grant will be offered to Tennessee postsecondary institutions with high levels of student food insecurity and/or a campus located in a food desert. TDEC has budgeted $30,000 total for Campus Food Pantry Grants with the expectation that no individual grant will exceed $7,000. Funding will be used to purchase equipment necessary for operation of the food pantry. 

*Note: This grant is available to institutions that do not already have an on-campus food pantry. If your institution has multiple campuses but your campus food pantry only serves your main campus, you can apply for the grant to expand pantry services to your satellite campuses. 

PDF icon Campus Food Pantry Grant Announcement

Application Portal and Grant Instructions Manual - Application will open mid-2022. Check soon back for more information.  

Campus Food Pantry Grant Info Session (September 24, 2020):

For campuses interested in partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank:

PDF icon Second Harvest Partner Agency Manual Microsoft Office document icon Second Harvest Partner Agency Application

Contact Information

TBR System Office contacts, for resources and questions:

Kristina Krau Waymire, Director of Student Initiatives, Office of Student Success

For one-on-one help with SNAP applications, appeals, or student advocacy:

Signe Anderson, Director of Nutrition Advocacy, Tennessee Justice Center

You can also call the Tennessee Justice Center for assistance: 615-255-0331

For questions about the Campus Food Pantry Grant:

Brook Powell, head of Campus Food Pantry Program, TN Department of Environment & Conservation