Can College Students get Food Stamps?

Can College Students get Food Stamps?

To know college students can get food stamps…read on this article…


Food stamps are the requirement for the low-income sections of the society or no-income sections of the society. It is for the people of the society who belong to economically weaker sections of the society. Today, many students somehow manage to get themselves enrolled in a good college but then what about food and lodging?

College students can enrol for food stamps if they fulfil two important criteria. Any student who wants to get food stamps should meet supplemental nutrition assistance program requirements. They also need to be enrolled for at least half time or more in their institution to avail the benefit. Many students belong to different kinds of families with different incomes and for that reason, food stamps are available for the students.

Food stamps for college students

Food stamps are part of the food stamp program that helps in providing food-purchasing assistance to no-income or low-income people and college students. It is a government-aided program. It is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. It works under Food and Nutrition Service. However, its benefits are distributed by certain departments of the States of the United States. It is the largest nutrition program so far by Food and Nutrition Service. It has proved to be one of the best nutrition programs for low-income Americans. 

For college students

For college students, it is a great relief. Students manage to get into the colleges of their choice but then lodging and food become a matter of concern for those who are in low-income or no-income zone. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allows the students to get the food at their convenience. This government-aided program is for the students who are financially weak and require aid while getting their education. However, everyone is not eligible to get this aid. There are a few criteria that a student must fulfil to get the free meal in the form of food stamps. The criteria and eligibility depend upon various things. It depends upon the income of the family, household size, resources in the family and so on. The students need to submit the proofs of the things mentioned to categorize themselves as eligible to get the food stamp aid. The expanded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program remains in action until the federal public health state of emergency remains in action and for 30 days after the state of emergency expires.

Dependence of eligibility

Not all the students studying in the lower or higher colleges are eligible to get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The food stamps are for the students who are eligible by fulfilling some of the important criteria. The eligibility as mentioned above depends upon many things like the income of the family, the resources in the family, the household sizes, etc. 

  • The income of the family will decide the economic condition of the family and thus provide the food stamps depending upon the income. For instance, they say that the gross income for any family must be $2,252 per month.
  • The resources in the family will decide up to what extent the family can afford the nutrition and then provide the food stamps.
  • The household sizes determine the number of beneficiaries per family and provide the aid accordingly. 

What is the need for eligibility criteria?

Eligibility criteria are important for keeping the process of providing aid smooth and easy. 

  • It ensures that only those who require the aid, get the benefit and become privileged. 
  • It ensures that the food is not getting wasted by the distribution among those who are capable enough to fulfil their own needs of food and nutrition.
  • It ensures that all the needy sections of the society are served firstly.
  • Setting up an eligibility procedure will save and lower the cost of production of the food for the people and that money can be used further for them. 
  • Distribution of the food stamps among the people who do not need it will be a bad move as this program is for underprivileged sections of the society and we cannot determine the needs without having any eligibility criteria.

What are the eligibility criteria?

An eligibility criterion will help the government in deciding who should get the aid of nutrition. It is a set of certain criteria any student must fulfil to avail of the benefit of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Certain criteria are:

  • The student must be 18-49 years of age.
  • You should have been enrolled at least half time in any institution.


  • You should have been enrolled at least half time in any college.


  • You should have been enrolled at least half time in any University.


  • You should have been enrolled at least half time in any technical trade.


  • You should have been enrolled at least half time in any vocational school.

If any student fulfils these criteria he or she is directly considered eligible for getting food stamps.

How does it work?

The students submit the proofs of their eligibility online and offline and then the government official reaches out to them to ensure that the documents submitted as proof of eligibility are correct. After the procedure is done the government aid is started for the student.

How to apply for food stamps?

Any student who finds himself eligible can easily apply for the food stamps in his locality of the college. You can apply either online by visiting the government website or offline by calling on 1-866-550-4355. For further assistance and enquiry, you can contact your local country assistance office. However, every state has its food stamp application process which follows federal guidelines. Many states allow mail or fax of the applications.

What happens after applying?

After the authorities get your application, there is a telephonic interview. The telephonic interview is carried out to ensure that you submitted all the correct documents and that you are eligible for aid. They would check eligibility by checking identity, residency, immigration status, household composition, income, resources, etc. After ensuring all the details, documents and proofs are correct they proceed with the next step of providing you with the aid. 

Why should a student be eligible for food stamps?

Certain reasons which cause any student to enrol for the food stamps are:

  • Low age.
  • Low status.
  • Absence of caretaker.
  • Absence of parents.
  • no work-study funds.
  • Working 20 hours per week.
  • Non-enrolment in certain employment programs.

What are exemptions?

Certain exemptions are:

  • Age factor:

If any individual is 50 and over or less than 18 is exempted from this benefit.

  • Any disability:

If any student is unable to work due to short term physical disability.

  • Credit in increasing employability:

If any student is enrolled in certain employment programs to increase employment.

The college student hunger act of 2019

On July 17, 2019, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Al Lawson introduced the College Student Hunger Act of 2019. The authority brought this idea forward to include two kinds of students together, the Pell Grant and the independent students. They both believed that a student has the right to both food and education and that problems in one thing do not cause the other one to be at stake. Their main motive was to make sure that the unavailability of food does not cause any problems in education. This act allows the students to qualify for the benefits. It also lowers the 20 hours of working time of the students to 10 hours. It helps the students to get the food directly to the dining halls or through certain meal plans.

What are the food items available under food stamps?

The government has aimed to provide better nutrition to all the underprivileged students and individuals and they have set up a set of food items that are essential for the diet of the students such as:

  • Fruits and green leafy vegetables;
  • Loaves of bread and cereals;
  • Dairy products;
  • Meat and fish;
  • Poultry;
  • Plant seeds.

Other items like:

  • Soft drinks and candies;
  • Cookies and snack crackers;
  • Ice-creams and plates of seafood;
  • Bakery cakes.

Are also available.


It is quite easy for college students to get food stamps. There are certain eligibility criteria which can help underprivileged students to get proper nutrition without affecting their studies and education. However, it is not for those who are having enough resources to fulfil their needs. You can apply for it either online or offline.

Frequently asked questions 
  • How much does it cost?

The beneficiaries receive around $127 per month after being eligible for the aid.

  • Can individuals apply for food stamps?

Yes! The government offers food stamps to underprivileged families too.

  • Where can I apply for food stamps offline?

The management offices or local county assistance offices of certain localities offer application forms from their sides to the applicants.