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Colleges Offer Microgrants to Help Low-Income Students Pay Bills that Can Derail them

During the summer between his sophomore and junior years at Georgia State University, life finally appeared to give Tyler Mulvenna a break.

Since his mother got laid off, Mulvenna was working up to 70 hours a week to help cover the mortgage and utilities, as well as transportation, food and textbooks — all while inching toward a degree in French with a concentration in international business. The soft-spoken 21-year-old had time for homework only on his three-hour daily bus commutes to and from the university, where he was striving to graduate within four years. Taking longer, after all, would only cost more.

Then, out of the blue, Mulvenna got a chance to live on campus. That would finally lower the stress, and let him focus more on being a student.  But there was a hitch: He only had $1,200 of the $3,000 needed for a semester’s rent.