As part of its ongoing efforts to ease the economic burden on millions of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has temporarily expanded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility for students in need.
Under regular SNAP eligibility requirements, students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education are typically ineligible for SNAP benefits unless they meet certain specific exemptions. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 temporarily expands SNAP eligibility to include students who either:
Are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work study during the regular academic year, as determined by the institution of higher education; or
Have an expected family contribution (EFC) of 0 in the current academic year. This includes students who are eligible for a maximum Pell Grant.
Beginning Jan. 16, 2021, students who meet one of the two criteria outlined above may receive SNAP benefits if they meet all other financial and non-financial SNAP eligibility criteria. The new, temporary exemptions will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted.
Because state SNAP agencies administer the SNAP program, process applications, and determine eligibility, students should contact their local SNAP offices to learn how to apply or to ask other questions.
Contact information for state SNAP agencies and local offices can be found in the FNS SNAP state directory, www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-directory.