College students are not exempt from facing hunger. In fact, 39% of students at two-year institutions and 29% at four-year institutions were reported as not having proper access to food in a recent study by The Hope Center. According to Every Texan, “71% of undergraduate college students are single parents, come from low-income families, or work at least half-time, making this the first time in history that lower-income students are enrolling in college at higher rates than their middle-income classmates.”
SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, provides a defensive to help combat hunger. However, most full-time students are not eligible to receive benefits. Of those eligible, only 4 out of 10 are enrolled.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress made temporary adjustments to SNAP to remove restrictions and allow more students to qualify for benefits. Eligibility is determined by the following:
- Student must be enrolled at least half-time in a higher education institution (college, university or trade/technical school).
- Student must participate in state or federally funded work-study during the school year OR
- Student has an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of 0 in the current academic year
(Any student who receives the maximum Pell Grant has an EFC of 0).
Documentation such as a financial aid award letter, letter from school, Student Aid Report (SAR) or unemployment documentation may need to be provided to verify benefit eligibility. The new, temporary exemptions will be in effect until 30 days after the federal government lifts the official designation of the nationwide COVID-19 public health emergency.
Our Benefits Assistance Team at the East Texas Food Bank can help you or someone you know determine qualification for these important benefits. Click here to fill out a Benefits Assistance Request and a representative will follow up with you.