COM hosts Single Stop, a non-profit tax benefits program

By Lisa Kelly

March 15, 2013

Single Stop, a non-profit organization providing benefits for students, is now offering help with taxes.

According to the College of Marin website, Single Stop is a “one stop shop” for students to get connected to benefits. The concept is to have a place where students can go to be screened for multiple government benefits, receive assistance in applying for those benefits, and have follow-ups to see if they have in fact received the benefits they are eligible for. The services Single Stop offers could cost up to 300 dollars per session outside of a bank, but COM is offering it for free.

Some of the other services they offer are benefit screenings to see if you are eligible for up to 200 dollars a month for groceries, free or low cost health insurance, reduced utility bills, and referrals for affordable child care.

As an incentive for students to take advantage of this service, any student who comes in to fill out an incentive form is eligible to win a free iPad.

According to singlestopusa.org the impact this service has had on students is incredible. In 2011, Single Stop’s community college sites drew down benefits and services worth over 1,945 dollars per student served. Preliminary data indicates that students who access Single Stop are more likely to stay in school.

The help Single Stop is providing for taxes at College of Marin this year has been utilized by about one hundred students so far.

“This is the second semester that we have offered this service. Students can come in for a walk-in meeting or schedule an appointment, which is the best way to guarantee that you will be seen,” said work study student Honour Knudsen. “If students would like to learn how to file taxes on their own this is a great tool to have. Their best bet is to ask questions while they are here.”

Any student who has long-term plans at College of Marin is advised to look into the Single Stop program, as the benefits provided may provide invaluable to some.

Single Stop is located in Student Services room 124. To find out if you qualify for tax assistance or any of the other benefits, students can call and ask what the requirements are at (415)391-7427.

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