SNAP Benefits for College Students

by Amos Z

Even though college should be a part of your life when you’re worrying about the next exam or how you’re going to make it to that party with your friends, some students are facing much more pressing issues.

Namely, with food prices constantly on the rise, hundreds of thousands of university students have found themselves presented with a dilemma, as they’re forced to choose between eating healthy, nutritious food or staying enrolled in college.

That shouldn’t be the case, and the federal government recognized the presence of this issue right away, which is how SNAP for college students came to be.

With the help of SNAP, college students now have access to nutritious food every day, preventing them from being hungry and allowing for those long nights before exams to be just a bit more bearable with a few snacks.

As bad as it sounds, it’s the reality we live in, and every student should have equal opportunities, whether it’s education or food.

Food stamps for college students

Even though the program is usually income-based, it does allow college students to make use of it, and any American between the age of 18 and 49 that is enrolled in a University can get SNAP benefits.

Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP is distributed through EBT cards that are given to the program’s beneficiaries.

These cards are similar to how a credit card works, and funds will be deposited in them every month to be spent at participating stores by the card’s holder.

Even though SNAP is a valid program in a number of different states, students must apply in their state of origin, meaning that even if they study in Montana, if their residence is in Illinois, they’d have to apply for benefits in their state of residence.


SNAP defines a student as anyone who’s enrolled half-time or full-time at an educational institution, and every school has the right to determine what qualifies as half-time enrollment.

If a student doesn’t have sufficient hours to qualify for half-time enrollment, they may still qualify for non-education-related SNAP benefits.

On the other hand, an education institution is defined as any institution that offers students access to a college or university degree curriculum program, although those enrolled in vocational school programs may also receive benefits.

What this means is that if you’re enrolled in a program that doesn’t require a high school degree, you can’t qualify for SNAP benefits for college students.

How does SNAP work

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has been around for a while, and some former beneficiaries may remember it being called food stamps.

Its sole purpose is to remove hunger from communities and give qualifying Americans access to nutritious food every day of the week.

This is done by depositing money into a card that is given to the beneficiary, known as the EBT card, short for Electronic Benefits Transfer.

However, this card is no regular credit card, and it can’t be used anywhere, as only participating stores will accept it as a valid form of payment.

On top of this, the funds on it can only be used for a select assortment of products, meaning that you won’t be able to buy tobacco or alcoholic beverages with the funds on your EBT card.

This was done to prevent misuse of the funds on the card and give less incentive for it to be stolen.

The funds on the card can be stored for a year, and will not be lost, although a card that isn’t used for over a year will become invalid and will require you to resubmit an application in order to use it again.

How to apply

Getting SNAP benefits, much like the majority of the other government-funded programs, is entirely free of charge, and you can apply either online, over the phone, or by visiting the local administering office for the program.

One thing to note is that you will have to provide information on your income, it will be what determines whether you receive the benefits or not, and this will be done for each and every one of your resubmissions for SNAP.

Evaluations are done to prevent anyone from misusing the program, and you’ll have to collect a fair amount of documentation if you wish to receive SNAP benefits.

Final word

SNAP isn’t exclusive just to low-income Americans that are part of the workforce, and students can make use of this miraculous program.

With the help of an EBT card, students in the US can have constant access to nutritious food and won’t have to worry whether they’ll be hungry on the weekends when they’re on campus.

Applying for the program is easy, but you will have to do it in the state where you live, regardless of whether you study out of state or not.

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