Despite compelling evidence of high levels of food insecurity among college students, SNAP (formerly, Food Stamps) has long excluded full-time students from eligibility for food assistance benefits unless they meet certain narrow qualifications. During the pandemic, while college students have had an even harder time meeting their basic needs, two of the main qualifications that students have traditionally used for SNAP access — working at least 20 hours a week or receiving a work-study award — have become far less available, as the economy has slowed and campuses have transitioned to virtual instruction.
In response to this reality, Congress acted in December 2020 to pass important flexibilities to SNAP’s rules for students. These new rules open SNAP access to students who:
These changes can provide important relief for thousands of students. With SNAP benefits currently 15% higher than usual and every SNAP household currently receiving maximum SNAP benefits, student access to SNAP is particularly valuable.
For these reasons, it’s vital that Louisiana’s colleges and universities do everything they can to make sure that students understand the benefits they might be eligible to receive and that they have easy access to the information they need to claim those benefits.
LBP and Delgado Community College’s Single Stop office have released guidance to Louisiana colleges and universities explaining how institutions can help their students learn about and access SNAP under the new Covid rules.
As students pursue their degrees during this challenging time, the actions recommended in our guidance memo can help ensure that they have adequate food on their tables and the resources they need to thrive.