The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

SNAP Eligibility Rules/Rights for College Students

Date: 
02/06/2019
Author: 
MLRI

College students struggling with tuition costs and shrinking financial aid may be eligible for SNAP benefits. A May 2018 report by the Wisconsin Hope Lab underscored the growing food insecurity in Massachusetts among 2 and 4 year public college students, as reported in the Boston Globe on May 11, 2018.  On January 9, 2019, the Goverment Accountability Office (GAO) released a detailed report highlighting the growth of food insecurity on campus and lack of student awareness/access to SNAP benefits.  See also The Altantic article of 1/9/19, Millions of College Students are Going Hungry, featuring the GAO report findings. 

MLRI is working with our partners to remove barriers to SNAP for low-income students. In addition to the fliers below to help students understand the SNAP rules, here's a fantastic YouTube 3-min video: My SNAP Rights: Massachusetts College Students created by our 2018/19 Emerson Hunger Fellow, Yesenia Jimenez. Second, check out Yesenia's report identifying the need for SNAP EBT Access on Massachusetts Public College Campuses!  Spread the word, and TAKE ACTION! 

MLRI's SNAP student FAQs and Outreach Fliers:

DTA Forms to verify student status and financial aid:

Current DTA policy guidance re college students:

  • DTA's Online Guide page on student eligibility (this is the policy DTA SNAP workers often refer to)
  • DTA's August 2017 Online Guide Transmittal expanding SNAP college student eligibility to recipients of MASS Grant financial aid, and that Quincy College students can qualify in the same way as 2 -year community college students. 
  • DTA's Operations Bulletin 2018-2 (3/27/18) which allows students to self-declare how much financial aid is available for basic living expenses if the student runs into problems gettingi the financial aid office to fill out DTA's EDUC-1 form. Here's a sample self-declaration statement. However, this should no longer be a problem. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) recently updated its guidance to confirm that financial aid offices are indeed permitted to share student financial aid information to third parties with the written consent of the student. See NASFAA guidance of 1/10/19. Let MLRI know if you see any problems with financial aid offices. 

Archived DTA guidance regarding college students:

  • DTA's June 2010 Field Ops memo 2010-28 about SNAP benefits for community college students (note that the verification form attached to this memo is out of date; a link to the current form is above).
  • DTA's June 2014 Hotline Q & A on SNAP benefits for college students who come home for the summer.

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