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A Student’s Perspective On The Impact of SNAP Incentive Programs

This blog is written by:

Ariana Kemeny: Ariana Kemeny (she/her) is a recent graduate of Florida State University. She is passionate about food security work and based in Tallahassee, Florida. She has presented on SNAP Outreach efforts at the University Fighting World Hunger Conference with the Student Basic Needs Coalition and served as a SNAP Accessibility Coordinator at her university. Ariana has also committed to the Student Leadership and Advisory Council (SLAAC) for Swipe Out Hunger.

Food insecurity among college students calls for innovative solutions like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentive programs, which make an already great program even more appealing and beneficial. 

I used SNAP during my junior year at Florida State University and, like many students, I believed that stretching my SNAP benefits meant choosing the cheapest, low-nutrient foods. My perspective changed entirely when I discovered SNAP incentives at our campus farmers market. SNAP healthy incentive programs provide extra funds or coupons to help and encourage people participating in SNAP to purchase healthy options. I was able to use my SNAP dollars to buy fresh sweet potatoes, honey, and watermelon all from local growers in my community. Fresh produce became not only accessible but also affordable, reshaping my approach to food and nutrition.

If you’re a campus leader working on food security programs, the first step to maximizing the benefits of SNAP incentives is to raise awareness! For example, you can collaborate with your student government on educational campaigns such as workshops, informational sessions, and digital resources. Students can learn about the advantages of SNAP incentives for stretching their food budgets and supporting local agriculture. “User Guides” are another great tool to improve your programming, which can be as simple as an infographic that highlights the products you can and cannot purchase with SNAP or listing nearby stores that accept SNAP and/or are enrolled in an incentive program. Effective marketing and outreach strategies, including social media campaigns and campus-wide announcements, can ensure this information is accessible to students.

By integrating SNAP healthy incentive programs into campus food security programming, you open the door for innovative collaboration and partnership opportunities. Your program can extend its reach through local farmers markets, grocery stores, and community organizations. I encourage campus administrators to look at initiatives that your students already engage in. Is there a farmers market near your campus? Are they enrolled in an incentive program? If yes, do they advertise it? Even further, could your campus convenience store enroll in an incentive program? Incorporating SNAP healthy incentives into college campus programming is a powerful step towards creating a more inclusive and sustainable environment for all students.


SNAP is the leading federal food security program and a great tool to meet your campus needs. Check out our SNAP Toolkit, a guide to setting up SNAP outreach and assistance programs for college students. 

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