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SNAP for College Students (2023)
SNAP and College Students
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can have several positive impacts on college students. It helps ensure that students have access to nutritious food, supporting their overall health and well-being. SNAP benefits can alleviate financial stress and allow students to focus more on their studies without worrying about hunger. This assistance can also contribute to improved academic performance and graduation rates, as students have their basic needs met. Additionally, SNAP can help foster a sense of stability and reduce food insecurity among college students, enabling them to fully engage in their educational pursuits.
Are College Students Eligible for SNAP?
Students attending an institution of higher education, like a college, university, trade school, or technical school at least half-time are eligible for SNAP if they meet an exemption and meet all other SNAP eligibility requirements. You can ask your school what qualifies as “half-time.”
What Are Student Exemptions?
Students that meet one of the following exemptions may qualify for SNAP:
- Are under age 18 or are age 50 or older.
- Have a physical or mental disability.
- 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 lack the necessary child care enabling them 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.
- A state or local government employment and training program
- Receive Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) assistance.
- Are assigned to, placed in, or self-placed in a college or other institution of higher education through:
- A SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program;
- Part of a career and technical education program under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 designed to be completed in not more than 4 years, or
- Limited to remedial courses, basic education, literacy, or English as a second language, or
- A program offered by a contracted SNAP E&T provider. These providers are identified on the DCFS website SNAP Employment and Training page under the Family Support tab.
- The work program under Title IV of the Social Security Act, which is the Strategies to Empower People (STEP) Program;
- Certain other E&T programs for low-income households, which are operated by a state or local government and have an equivalent component to SNAP E&T;
- A program under Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA);
- A state or local government employment and training program;
- A Trade Adjustment Assistance Program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974.
- A SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program;
How does the end of the temporary student exemption affect me?
If you are a student who applied or recertified for SNAP before July 1, 2023, you may have been certified under a temporary student exemption. You do not need to take any action at this time. If you are still a student when you next recertify for SNAP, you will have to meet a regular student exemption in order to keep receiving benefits.
If you are a student applying or recertifying for SNAP on or after July 1, 2023, the temporary exemptions do not apply to you. You must meet a regular student exemption to be eligible for SNAP.
What Are Income Requirements?
This chart shows the gross monthly eligibility standard based on family size considering 130% of the Federal Poverty Line, or FPL. The FPL is set by the federal government each year and is calculated based on family size and income. FPL determines eligibility for many federal and state public programs.
The amount of SNAP a household receives depends on the number of people in the SNAP household and the amount of their net income. The table below shows the maximum SNAP allotments by household size.
- There are 5 columns in the table. To view all the columns on smartphones with smaller screens, rotate the phone to the horizontal position or scroll the table horizontally ( ↔ ) with a screen drag.
- BroadBased-Categorically Eligible (BBCE) households are required to meet the Maximum Gross Monthly Income Standard of 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) instead of 130% of the FPL.
|Household size||Max Gross Monthly Eligibility Standard 130% Poverty||Max Gross Monthly Eligibility Standard 200% Poverty||Max Net Monthly Income Eligibility Standard||Max SNAP Allotment, as of Oct. 1, 2022|
|Each Additional Member||+$512||+$787||+$394||+$211|
How Do I Apply?
You don’t need to go to an office! You can apply online and receive your EBT card in the mail.
The quickest and easiest way to apply for SNAP is online at https://www.dcfs.la.gov/cafe.
If you are eligible, you will be able to access your SNAP benefits no later than 30 days from the date the office received your application. If you have very little or no income for the month and you need help right away, you may qualify for SNAP benefits within seven days.
I’m on a campus meal plan. Can I still get SNAP?
If more than half of a student’s meals are provided through a meal plan by the institution as part of the institution’s normal services, the student is considered a resident of an institution. Residents of institutions are not eligible. This includes students living on or off campus who buy a meal plan from the institution when the amount of the purchased meal plan equals more than half of their meals. It does not matter if the purchase of the meal plan is required or by choice. If the student is provided more than 50 percent of their meals through the meal plan regardless if the meals are eaten or not, they are not eligible for participation in SNAP. Eleven or more meals per week is considered more than 50 percent of meals per week.
Example: A student reports that they will receive breakfast and lunch 5 days per week through their meal plan. This is equivalent to 10 meals per week. Because the student will receive only two of the three daily meals through the meal plan 5 days per week, the student is not considered a resident of an institution. The 10 meals per week is less half of 21 total meals per week.
Example: A student reports that they will receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner 5 days per week through their meal plan. This is equivalent to 15 meals per week. The student will receive three daily meals through the meal plan 5 days per week. The student is considered a resident of an institution because the student will receive 15 meals per week, which is more than half of 21 total meals per week.
Where/How to Use?
People who use SNAP get an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card to pay for their food. The EBT card is a debit card on which benefits are loaded each month, with the amount based on income and expenses. SNAP benefits can only be used to buy food, and plants and seeds to grow food for your household to eat. You can use your EBT card to purchase food at any grocery store, farmers’ market, or online website that accepts SNAP like Amazon and Walmart.
A SNAP EBT card can be used to purchase most food and beverages.
Examples of items that may be purchased with SNAP benefits are listed below:
- Fruit, vegetables
- Meat, poultry, fish
- Dairy products
- Bread, cereal
- Snack food
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Food-producing seeds and plants
Hot prepared food, like pizza or prepared meals in a grocery store, as well as restaurant meals, are not SNAP EBT eligible.
As a college student you could benefit from SNAP in several ways:
Access to Nutritious Food
Improved Academic Performance
Reduced Food Insecurity
Increased Graduation Rates
Support for Non-Traditional Students
Focus on Learning
Gateway to Other Support Programs
"Hunger-Free Campus" Program
Food insecurity is a key hurdle that many students encounter as they pursue higher education.
The “Hunger-Free Campus” program helps Louisiana’s colleges and universities raise awareness about the issue – and bring attention to on- and off-campus services that help fill the gaps by addressing basic food needs.
The “Hunger-Free Campus” designation and grant program was established by Act 719, signed into law on June 27, 2022, by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Rep. Barbara Freiberg, who sponsored the legislation, said she was astounded to learn that as many as 40% of college students experience food insecurity.