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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.

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