The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget to families in need so they could purchase healthy foods for their familiy.
COVID-19 Temporary Update
The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, temporarily expands SNAP eligibility to include students enrolled at least part-time in an institution of higher education, who either:
- Are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work-study during the regular school year, as determined by the institution of higher education, or
- Have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year
Beginning on January 16, 2021, students who meet one of the two new exceptions may receive SNAP if they meet all other SNAP eligibility. The new, temporary exemptions will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted.
The new, temporary exemptions, expands SNAP eligibility to students who are eligible to participate in work-study during the regular school year, without the requirement that they actually participate.
The new, temporary exemptions do not impact any other student exemptions. All current student eligibility exemptions remain in effect. For more information about the new, temporary exemptions can be found here. To find out how to apply, or for other questions regarding your SNAP eligibility, contact your local SNAP office.
In California, the California Student Aid Commission will send all students with a zero dollar expected family contribution an informing letter about this new exception to the CalFresh student rule.
Are students eligible for SNAP?
Students attending college more than half-time are not eligible for SNAP unless they meet certain specific exemptions and meet all other SNAP eligibility requirements. Beginning on January 16, 2021, students who meet one of the two new exceptions may receive SNAP if they meet all other financial and non-financial SNAP eligibility criteria.
Who counts as a student for SNAP purposes?
Individuals are considered students if they are enrolled at least part-time in an institution of higher education. Individuals enrolled less than half-time may be SNAP-eligible if they meet all other SNAP eligibility requirements.
What is considered an institution of higher education?
- A regular curriculum at a college or university degree program; or
- A business, technical, trade, or vocational school that normally requires a high school diploma or equivalent (GED)
What is considered at least half-time enrollment?
Enrollment status is determined by the institution of higher learning and should be verified by the institution.
What are the student exemptions?
If you are a student you may be able to get SNAP benefits if you meet eligibility requirements and meet one of the exemptions listed here or one of the new COVID-19 exemptions listed in this article.
What if I have more questions?
For additional information about SNAP in your state, to file an application, or to get more information about eligibility rules, contact your local SNAP office.
Apply for CalFresh Today!
Food insecurity has heightened due to the pandemic and it is getting harder to get access to healthy meals. Luckily, there are programs and resources out there, it is only a matter of finding out about these resources and sharing them with our peers. FoodFinder is here to help you!
FoodFinder is a resource that allows you to find food pantries near you! FoodFinder is a food pantry locator that shows you where you can find free food assistance in your neighborhood. All you need to do is enter your zip code to the map and pick the pin that is closest to you! Tap the pin you’d like to see where the food pantry is located and what their schedule is like.
Luckily, financial aid covers most tuition and fees. Other expenses that arise from our college education are our personal expenses. Financial aid does not cover these, even though some of these expenses are related to college. Personal expenses include personal items such as laundry, going out to a movie, or eating out. Expenses vary from one student to the next based on their particular needs and lifestyle.
To learn more about personal expenses, download this guide Personal Expenses Explained. Guide provided by DecidED
Basic Needs: Student Navigator Network
The Student Navigator Network is a referral service amidst COVID-19 that links students with financial, academic, and personal resources. This partnership between Swipe up Hunger and Rise employs and trains student navigators to help their peers and diminish the stigma of asking for help and assistance. Student Navigators help their peers apply for emergency financial assistance, find and access local and communal support, navigate public benefits, and receive timely information on policies, programs, and services.
Free or reduced-cost services like medical care, food, job training and more can be found around your area! Food or reduced-cost services are services that are free or are at a reduced cost for people with low-income. These services are also available for people with undocumented status.
- Aunt Bertha is one of the largest and most used online social care networks for individuals looking to connect to Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) in the United States. To get started, input your zip code and Aunt Bertha will connect you with CBO’s near you.
- The Employment Development Department (EDD) of the State of California provides to keep employers, employees, and job seekers competitive. This website provides additional resources that may help you.
Reduced cost or free internet access:
Information on low-cost computers:
Northern California: in English and Spanish
Southern California: in English and Spanish
Databases that include services for undocumented communities:
Food is a basic human right, yet prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 36% of college students faced food insecurity in the United States. According to Feeding America, food insecurity is “a federal measure of a household’s ability to provide enough food for every person in the household to have an active, healthy life.” Food insecurity is such a big issue for students because it can affect your test scores, concentration, energy, academic standing, and lowers your chances of graduating. In addition, food insecurity affects the most vulnerable students ex. students who receive financial aid, students who are parents/ caretakers, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students, first-generation students, BIPOC, and more.
Unfortunately, students who are facing food insecurity are not accessing all the public benefits they could. The food insecurity among college students can get worse because families are losing income, medical bills are piling up, and folks are being forced to tap-in to their savings. However there are college, local, state and federal resources for you as a student.
Below is a list of food banks/ pantries that are accessible to you and your family at no cost, because no student should go upon not knowing when their next meal will be.
The CalFresh Program is for people with low-income who meet federal income eligibility rules. CalFresh provides you with a budget to put healthy and nutritious food on the table.
CalFresh is a state program that awards you up to $193 a month for groceries.
If you are a student, you can get CalFresh if you:
- Work at least 20hrs/wk, on average, OR
- Are approved for state or federal work-study money and anticipate working during the term, OR
- Are a full-time student with a child under age 12
- For further requirements, click here.
- More special rules for students and exceptions click here.
To begin signing up for CalFresh, select your county and get started. You will need to submit proof of your situation.
- Documents that are usually required to get CalFresh:
- Copy of ID
- Proof of any income
- Proof of immigration status (for non-citizens)
- Proof of student status (for college students)
- What if you can’t get proof?
- Tell the caseworker during the interview. CalFresh generally accepts a sworn statement as last resort.
Apply now online at https://www.getcalfresh.org/