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Temporary SNAP Eligibility for College Students

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. SNAP provides a monthly benefit to individuals and families through an Electronic Benefits Card (EBT) to supplement the purchase of nutritious foods. Eligibility for SNAP benefits is based on financial and nonfinancial criteria

SNAP for Students

For SNAP purposes, a student refers to a person who is enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education. The term student refers to a person who is:

  1. Enrolled in a business, technical, trade, or vocational school that normally requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate for enrollment; or
  2. Enrolled in a regular curriculum at a college or university that offers degree programs, regardless of whether a high school diploma is required.

New Temporary Eligibility Expansion

Effective January 16, 2021, 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:

  1. are eligible to participate in state or federally-financed work-study during the regular school year (it is not required to actually participate in work-study), or
  2. have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year determined in accordance with part F of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

There are also income eligibility guidelines that must be met in order to qualify for SNAP.

Prior to 1/16/21 Effective as of 1/16/21
Be participating in a state or federally financed work-study program during the regular school year. The Act expands the eligibility exemption to students who are eligible to participate in work-study during the regular school year, without the requirement that they actually participate.
In evaluating a student's eligibility based on the current work-study provision, the student must be approved for work-study at the time of the application for SNAP benefits. In addition, the work-study must be approved for the school term and the student must anticipate actually working during the school term. Beginning on January 16, 2021, students who meet one of the two outlined criteria mentioned on the previous slide may receive SNAP if they meet all other financial and non-finacial SNAP eligibility criteria.

Visit CommonHelp.virginia.gov to apply for SNAP today if you are newly eligible.

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