Can I Get Government Assistance While In College?

Going to college requires that you spend some reasonable amount of money. There is the tuition fee, there is the accommodation or residence fee, there is also the fee for unexpected course materials, etc. Not all college students can afford all these, and this is why they need assistance from the Government.

The government’s assistance to college students can be narrowed down to four different aspects. They include food, healthcare, housing, and financial assistance. These offers are strictly for low-income students. But often, the recipients have to work, which affects their higher education.

 Can I Get Government Assistance While In College

Government Assistance Programs For College Students

As college fee keeps increasing, many college students are left helpless, especially those who are from low-income homes and have no one exactly sponsoring their education. Some of these students get some Need-Based Scholarships and Merit-Based Scholarships, but some others are always unlucky.

This is why the government brought up its assistance programs asides from the ones offered by various colleges and universities. These programs focus on the overall needs of a college student which range from feeding, healthcare, housing, and financial help.

If the less privileged students can get one or more of these government aid programs, then they will be able to see themselves through school and have less to worry about. Some of the government assistance programs for college students include:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Housing Choice Vouchers
  • Federal Student Aids

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a grant that is awarded by the federal government to different states who use it to cater to  the needs of their citizens. These states use these funds and a part of their funds  to create grant programs for families in need and college students.

The state can use its discretion to determine how it wants its grant programs to run. However, it must succumb to federal law, which states that recipients must work for a certain time. For instance, college students are required to work for 30 hours every week.

The disadvantage of this is that students might not be able to meet up with classwork, assignments, and tests. They might get distracted by work and perform poorly in school. This is why some states applied her discretion in determining how much work a student should be involved in.

For instance, the state of Minnesota permits students to benefit from the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), and unlimited access to higher education without requiring them to work. Eligiblity for  Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is as follows:

  • The recipient must be a United States Citizen or a legal immigrant who has been a resident for a minimum of five years.
  • Refugees and family members of the military are eligible even without a five years residency requirement.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a grant program that is available to low-income and non-traditional students. Well-to-do students are not eligible for this program.

Many students who are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are not aware of the fact that they are. This is why a 2018 statistics report by Young Invincibles showed that only 3% of students eligible for SNAP get the grants when 15% more can benefit from it.

According to the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), students who are up to their sophomore year in college can no longer participate in this grant program, unless they meet one or more of the following exceptions.

  • Students must be under the age of 18
  • Student’s inability to work because of mental or physical disability
  • The student is a parent to a child between 6 to 11 years and is unable to obtain childcare
  • Students who are working 20 hours per week
  • The student is schooling full-tune and is a single parent of a child under 12 years


Medicaid is a Student health plan program which is sponsored by the federal and state government. It is the major health insurance policy available to college and university students.

Although not all students get this, there is no need for them to panic. There are other student health plans offered by various colleges and universities. If you are a student schooling outside your state, your parent’s health insurance policy might not cover you.

So, this is why you must look for the student’s health plans in your college or university and opt for the most comprehensive and favorable. The Student Health Plan is an intentional act of the government to ensure that students have access to free medical health care services.

Housing Choice Vouchers

Underprivileged students are provided with housing programs like privately-owned subsidized housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, and Public Housing by the government. This is a way of resolving accommodation problems for them and sometimes their families.

Low-income students participate in the Housing Choice Vouchers by looking for a house and having the difference between the actual rent and subsidized rent paid. Under federal law, only students whose parents can’t support them with housing income benefit from this program. However, students who are veterans, have dependent children, age 24 and above, or are married, are exempted from this law.

Federal Student Aids

Federal Student Aid was authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. It is a program that is responsible for the financial expenses of the post-secondary education of students who are either in colleges, universities, vocational institutions, or any other higher education of learning.

This financial aid covers a student’s educational expenses such as tuition and fees, housing, books, etc. Some requirements for the Federal Student Aid include:

  • Students must be a citizen of the United States or eligible non-citizens pursuing an eligible degree program.
  • Students must show that they have financial needs.

The government provides  the above-mentioned grant programs encourages the students’ pursuit of higher learning. They encourage those who would have otherwise been discouraged as a result of low income  to get college degrees and pursue their dreams. Although some of these programs do not fit into the students’ academic plan properly, it nonetheless  allows them to further their education.


Government assistance to college students is a good way of showing that the welfare of the academic aspect of its citizens is taken seriously. It reflects a level of responsibility for the students of higher learning, and the desire to see them pursue their careers and succeed. By supporting the financial expenses of students, the government directly or indirectly produces a generation of literate men and women whose level of enlightenment would lead to the progress of the states and country at large.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What kinds of financial assistance do government render to college students?


The government financially supports students in their tuition, fees, housing, feeding, and health care, among others.

2) Why are well-to-do students not eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?


Well-to-do students are not eligible for SNAP because they can afford their feeding expenses.