The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, temporarily expands SNAP eligibility to include students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education, who either:
- Are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work study during the regular school year, as determined by the institution of higher education, or
- Have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year.
Beginning on Jan. 16, 2021, students who meet one of the two criteria outlined above may receive SNAP 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. FNS will update this webpage when the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.
Under SNAP regular rules, only students who actually participate in state or federally funded work study are eligible. The new, temporary exemption, expands SNAP eligibility to students who are eligible to participate in work study during the regular school year, without the requirement that they actually participate.
The new, temporary exemptions do not impact any other student exemptions (see “What are the student exemptions?” below). All current student eligibility exemptions remain in effect.
To find out how to apply, or for other questions about your SNAP eligibility, contact your local SNAP office.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are students eligible for SNAP?
Generally, students attending college more than half-time are not eligible for SNAP unless they meet certain specific exemptions and meet all other SNAP eligibility requirements.
Who counts as a student for SNAP purposes?
Individuals are considered students if they are enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education. Individuals enrolled less than half-time may be SNAP-eligible if they meet all other SNAP eligibility requirements.
What is considered an institution of higher education?
For SNAP purposes, an individual is attending an institution of higher education if they are enrolled in:
- A regular curriculum at a college or university degree program; or
- A business, technical, trade, or vocational school that normally requires a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).
What is considered at least half-time enrollment?
Enrollment status is determined by the institution of higher learning and should be verified by the institution.
What are the student exemptions?
If you are a student (as defined above) you may be able to get SNAP benefits if you are otherwise eligible for SNAP and meet one of the following exemptions:
- Are 17 years old or younger, or 50 years old or older;
- Are physically or mentally unfit (have a disability);
- Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits;
- Are enrolled in a TANF Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program;
- Work at least 20 hours a week in paid employment;
- Participate in a state or federally financed work study program;
- Participate in an on-the-job training program;
- Care for a child under the age of 6;
- Care for a child age 6 to 11 and do not have adequate child care enabling you to attend school and work 20 hours a week or participate in work study;
- Are a single parent enrolled full-time in college and taking care of a child under 12; or
- Are assigned to or placed in a college or other institution of higher education through:
- A program under WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014);
- A program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Adjustment Assistance Program);
- An employment and training program under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (SNAP E&T); or
- An employment and training program for low-income households operated by a state or local government, so long as the program has at least one component that is equivalent to a component under SNAP E&T.
What if I have more questions?
For additional information about SNAP in your state, to file an application for SNAP benefits, or to get information about how these eligibility rules apply to your household’s circumstances, contact your local SNAP office. You can also reach out to the Advocacy & Resource Center at 440-366-4ARC or firstname.lastname@example.org.