Coppin State University will partner with the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to provide housing vouchers for 10 low-income students living in the city.

Janet Abrahams, president of the city housing authority, said this is the first and only program of its kind in Maryland.

“We know housing can be a major barrier preventing low-income students from earning a college degree,” she said in a press conference on Tuesday.

The Student Housing Initiative is a “unique” program developed to “provide students with resources that they may not otherwise have,” Abrahams added.

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Mosiah Fit is returning to the historically Black university after serving in the U.S. military for 10 years.

He says the new housing vouchers will allow him to pursue his degree while supporting his son.

“I’m also currently a homeless veteran,” Fit said. “So this program is right on time.”

Fit is applying to be one of 10 students who will split over $600,000 in funding from the Housing Authority of Baltimore City over the next four to five years.

Voucher recipients have to meet a list of criteria, which includes being a Baltimore City high school graduate and maintaining a 2.5 GPA.

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Students who are employed while taking classes will pay a minimum of $25 towards their monthly rent or, if higher, 10% of their monthly gross income. Unemployed students won’t have to contribute any funds.

“We will also be providing furniture; we will be providing counseling,” Abrahams said. Recipients will also have access to case management services and can enroll in the housing authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program for additional support.

Coppin State President Anthony Jenkins said this program bolsters the university’s dedication to holistic student support and economic mobility.

“And now to add homeownership and home value, to have a roof over one’s head, to take that issue off of the table so that you can focus on other important factors,” he said.

Over 66% of the university’s students received Pell Grants, demonstrating exceptional financial need, in 2021. More than half were first-generation college students.

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Earlier this month, a state audit revealed that Coppin State did not consider actual financial need when distributing around $13 million of Higher Education Emergency Relief funds from 2020 to 2022 — instead distributing most of the money in equal amounts to every enrolled student.

Through the new housing initiative, students can live anywhere in Baltimore City. Jenkins said he hopes this will encourage Coppin State graduates to stay in the city after earning their degrees.

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