Appendix F: KEYS Program Description

Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) is a collaborative program between the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. The program is designed to help TANF individuals and a limited number of SNAP individuals connect and pursue post-secondary education at one of the 14 community colleges.

KEYS was developed in response to growing research that shows that people who earn a career-specific credit or non-credit bearing certificate or an associate’s degree are better able to get jobs at family-sustaining wages with benefits and have greater opportunities for advancement. Educational studies show that individuals who earn a career-specific credit or non-credit bearing certificate or associate’s degree earn more money after graduation than those who have not attended.

Credit or non-credit bearing certificate or associate’s degree programs must be career specific and support the student in gaining employment after graduation in that particular field of study. Programs of general studies, such as liberal arts, will not be supported and cannot be approved for TANF on the AMR or for SNAP on the Employment Development Plan (EDP).

KEYS student facilitators at these colleges will provide services and support necessary to assist students in completing educational activities. The services are designed to help them remain connected to the community college with the intent of graduating with a career-specific credit or non-credit bearing certificate or associate’s degree.

All pre-60-month (1,830 days) applicants and TANF recipients who have an approved AMR stating they plan to attend or are presently enrolled at one of Pennsylvania’s fourteen community colleges are eligible to participate in the KEYS community college program. Once enrolled in community college, TANF students are required to participate in KEYS. SNAP applicants and recipients may participate in  KEYS if there are slots available.

Special allowances for supportive services (SPALs) are available to students when needed and required to support student's participation in school.

For more information about KEYS refer to the KEYS Guidelines.


Referral Process

NOTE:  SNAP-only recipients who have an approved EDP may volunteer to enroll in KEYS. However, there are limited slots available for individuals who only receive SNAP benefits. The CAO will refer these individuals to KEYS using the same referral process.

EPP-17241-135  Appropriate KEYS Referrals (linked July 30, 2014)


eCIS Data Entry Procedures

Enter ETP code 60 or 40.



Individuals who are participating in the KEYS program and are in good standing when they reach 1,830 days on TANF may continue attending community college as their approved Employment and Training (E & T) Program for any months remaining in the 12-month limit in accordance with the postsecondary education policy.

However, an individual who is receiving Extended TANF may not begin postsecondary education and have it count as an allowable work activity. To remain eligible for one of the ETANF tracks, the individual must continue to participate in a countable ETANF work activity.


Updated October 2, 2013, replacing April 11, 2013