U.S. Department of Agriculture Clarifies Where Eligible Students Should Apply for Expanded SNAP Benefits

By Owen Daugherty, NASFAA Staff Reporter 

As institutions seek to make students aware of the expansion to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which will allow millions of additional college students to more easily access the program by temporarily removing work and eligibility requirements for students for the duration of the pandemic, several questions have surfaced regarding eligibility criteria.

Many of the lingering questions center on where students should apply for the benefits if they are enrolled in a school not located in their home state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) told NASFAA that students seeking to enroll in the temporarily expanded program should apply in the state in which they are currently living and attending school.

“There is not a minimum amount of time that someone must live in a state in order to apply for SNAP,” a USDA spokesperson said, adding that all they will need to do is verify their residency in that state.

To verify residency, a student will be required to provide documentation. The following documents are examples of what could be used to verify residency:

  • In-state license

  • Utility bill

  • Rental agreement

  • Letter from housing services at the institution of higher education

  • Letter from a resident assistant (RA) in a dormitory

  • Letter from a landlord of a rental property

Since each state has its own application form in order for an individual to enroll in SNAP, USDA is directing those seeking to apply or individuals with other questions about SNAP eligibility to contact their local SNAP offices, which can be found here:

Regarding the temporary expansion as it relates to student eligibility, USDA has provided a notice outlining the requirements here:

A detailed breakdown of eligibility criteria can be found here:

The USDA also issued an FAQ regarding the student provisions related to SNAP expansion:

Additionally, the Department of Education (ED) recently posted guidance for colleges and universities in an attempt to notify schools of the expanded program, encouraging them to notify eligible students.

"The guidance issued today is part of the Biden administration's push to act quickly to address hunger and support those who are struggling,” said acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Michelle Asha Cooper. 


Publication Date: 3/8/2021

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