By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Senior Staff Reporter
The Department of Education (ED) on Thursday released a memo to remind institutions of higher education that the ongoing national emergency declarations tied to the coronavirus pandemic will end on May 11, and that schools should use the winddown period to ensure that eligible students can access the expanded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) before those benefits sunset.
During the pandemic SNAP was opened to all college students who are enrolled at least half-time and are either eligible for work-study or have an EFC of zero.
Thursday’s guidance seeks to ensure that institutions utilize these federal resources to meet students’ basic needs that could be impacted by this transition period.
“As the public health emergency (PHE) sunsets, institutions of higher education (IHEs) and State higher education agencies play an important role in helping students to access basic needs supports and public benefits for which they may be eligible,” the memo says.
Per guidance released by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Feb. 10, 2023, once the emergency declaration is lifted on May 11, 2023, the temporary student exemptions will remain in effect for initial SNAP applications for an additional 30 days. State SNAP agencies must continue to apply the temporary exemptions to initial applications filed on or before June 9, 2023. State SNAP agencies must also process SNAP recertification applications submitted through June 30, 2023, using the temporary exemptions.
ED also urged schools to conduct targeted outreach to students using FAFSA data and ensure that eligible students are provided with the information needed to apply for the program.
“Students applying for SNAP for the first time may qualify under the temporary exemptions if they submit their SNAP application to their SNAP State agency on or before June 9, 2023,” the memo explains. “IHEs should also support students enrolled at least half-time who are already participating in SNAP to submit a recertification application prior to July 1, 2023, if their SNAP certification period ends in April, May, or June.”
Publication Date: 3/31/2023
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