SNAP Benefits for Today's Students
Higher Learning Advocates and 48 organizations submitted a letter to Congress in support of expanding SNAP benefits to help counteract the rising rate of food insecurity among today’s students in higher education.
Currently, more than one-third of students struggle to afford food and groceries, but only 31% of college students who meet SNAP income limits reported receiving benefits – a much lower share compared to the general population. HLA and partner organizations urge Congress to modernize the college student SNAP eligibility criteria in the Farm Bill reauthorization and consider adding the following exemptions for students who also meet income and asset requirements of the SNAP program:
- Students with $0 Expected Family Contribution as determined on the FAFSA, representing financial aid recipients with the highest level of financial need.
- Students with any dependents under the age of 18, which aligns the parenting exemption with that for other SNAP recipients.
- Students who are enrolled in another means-tested benefit or who have an immediate family member enrolled in another means-tested benefit, similar to the treatment of federal financial aid applicants exempt from asset reporting.
- Undergraduate students who are considered independent for the purposes of federal student aid, including veterans, active-duty military personnel, students with a history in the foster care system, and students experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Additional pathways to qualify for SNAP that leverage pre-verified data, such as from a student’s FAFSA, can make the rules simpler to understand for students most likely to experience food insecurity, and for colleges and states to outreach to students and administer the benefit. As a result, college students will increase their chances of ultimately achieving a degree or other credential at a time when postsecondary education is needed more than ever to succeed in the labor market.
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