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Supporting College Students Through  Upcoming Changes to SNAP

In May 2023, the federal government will end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations related to the pandemic, including the temporary changes that were made to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This temporary expansion of SNAP provided critical support to students through increased eligibility and benefits amounts, which greatly supported students and their families during campus closures, quarantine, and other pandemic-related challenges.

As the leading nonprofit ending college hunger, we want to ensure our partners and the higher education community are prepared for changes that will impact students’ SNAP access. Here’s the scoop on new changes to SNAP for college students:

1. Students currently enrolled in SNAP may see a decrease in their benefit amounts. 

Students who receive SNAP benefits during the COVID emergency declaration (2020 – now) were given a temporary increase in the amount of spendable monthly dollars they received. Now that this emergency declaration is expiring, the amount of benefits will return to what they would have received pre-pandemic. This means students will be receiving less money for food. States who already ended their emergency declarations in 2022 and lowered their benefits will not be affected by the federal declarations expiration. 

2. Some students may no longer be eligible for SNAP. 

Under the emergency declaration, the federal government expanded SNAP eligibility to students who were eligible for work study (without having to actually participate in the program) and students with an  Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of “0” on their federal student aid package. With the end of the temporary expansion, these students who temporarily qualified for SNAP will no longer be eligible unless they meet SNAP requirements as they were previously laid out before the pandemic. 

To continue receiving benefits, students will need to provide work and income verification at their next recertification. If they do not meet SNAP eligibility requirements or do not provide this information, they will stop receiving SNAP benefits at their next recertification. Individuals are notified of their recertification date by the local office that administers SNAP benefits. 

For more details, the U.S. Department of Education released a letter on the changes to student SNAP eligibility. 

3. There will be an increase in student need.

Traffic at food banks and pantries is already increasing as states end their emergency SNAP benefits early. When these emergency benefits end federally, be prepared to see a similar rise in student need at campus pantries and other on-campus hunger solutions programs. Learn about what resources may be available to your campus and work with other student services offices to devise a plan to address students’ needs. Most importantly, be ready to answer questions about individual SNAP cases and to help students recertify.

How to Support Students with Upcoming Changes to SNAP

Swipe Out Hunger wants to help you support students so they get the benefits they need to be successful. Here are a few things you can do to stay connected to all the possible resources your students can access:

  • Check out our SNAP toolkit for more information on outreach, enrollment assistance, and to learn more about the ways we can work together to advocate for long term changes to SNAP that help provide a more just student experience. You can also check out our SNAP training session.
  • Review our most recent Swipe Sessions to learn how our campus partners get creative to meet the needs of their students during moments of decreased access to food, like during campus closures. 
  • Meet with our Programs team during office hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays to get individualized support.

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