More college students than ever are struggling with hunger. SNAP is a resource that can help. Students 18-49 who attend higher education at least half-time may be eligible for SNAP by meeting income guidelines and additional criteria.
The federal COVID relief bill passed in December 2020 expanded SNAP eligibility for college students–allowing more students to qualify without meeting work requirements. Students can now qualify for SNAP if they:
- Are eligible for work study – students do not need to have a work study position or award
- Have an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 on FAFSA
- College students can still qualify for SNAP in many other ways, see below for more information.
*Students attending class less than half time and those age 50+ do not need to meet additional student criteria, only income, to qualify for SNAP.
- Be awarded work study–a student does not need to have a position secured when they apply, but a student needs to intend to find a position in the coming school term.
- Paid employee or self employed working an average of 20 hours a week
- Unable to work due to physical or physiological difficulties
- Responsible for the care of a child (age requirements apply)
- Participating in a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) approved program
- Receive TANF
- Receive Unemployment Compensation
Other Factors Affecting Eligibility
- If a student’s meal plan pays for more than 51% of their meals per week than they are not eligible for SNAP. If the meal plan pays for less than half of a student’s meals per week, receiving a meal plan will not affect a student’s eligibility for SNAP.
- Students under the age of 22 who still live with their parents or guardians must apply with their parents.
- Financial aid received through the Veterans Administration or private scholarships count as income.
- Students on break from school must still meet the criteria for which they are eligible for SNAP (i.e. if you qualify by working 20 hours a week, you’d need to keep doing this over summer break).
Note: Federal financial aid including Pell grants, Perkins loans, Stafford loans and most work-study is not counted as income against student eligibility. Students may defer federal student loan payments while receiving SNAP benefits without incurring interest charges.
College students interested in applying for SNAP benefits can contact Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana’s SNAP Hotline at 317-644-1280