Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps), is the largest federal nutrition program. With over 1.5 million Ohioans receiving SNAP benefits, this program offers individuals and families more spending power at local grocers, retailers, and farmer’s markets and ensures that millions of Americans have continued access to nutritious food.

Generally, qualifying for SNAP depends on your household’s income level. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, temporarily expands SNAP eligibility to include students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education, who either:

  • 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
  • Have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year.

Beginning on Jan. 16, 2021, students who meet one of the two criteria outlined above may receive SNAP if they meet all other financial and non-financial SNAP eligibility criteria. The new, temporary exemptions will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted. Once approved for benefits, students will not have to re-verify for one year.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why do college students utilize SNAP benefits?

A survey conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University at the beginning of the pandemic concluded that nearly 3 in 5 students were experiencing basic needs insecurity. Food insecurity affected 44 percent of students at two-year institutions and 38 percent of students at four-year institutions.

In fact, college students are more vulnerable to food insecurity due to limited financial resources, decreased buying power of federal aid, and rising costs of tuition, housing and food. Food insecurity impacts academics, wellness, and behavior – all factors that have bearing on student retention and graduation rates.

Are college students eligible for SNAP?

GENERAL ASSET AND INCOME CRITERIA:

  • Current bank balance (savings and checking combined) is under $2,001
  • Income at or below 130% of the poverty level (poverty level chart)  
    • Work study, graduate stipends, and federal financial aid do not count as income

AND ONE OF THE FOLLOWING EXEMPTIONS IS ALSO MET:

  • Are 17 years old or younger, or 50 years old or older;
  • Are physically or mentally unfit (have a disability);
  • Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits;
  • Are enrolled in a TANF Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program;
  • Work at least 20 hours a week in paid employment;
  • Participate in a state or federally financed work study program;
  • Participate in an on-the-job training program;
  • Care for a child under the age of 6;
  • Care for a child age 6 to 11 and do not have adequate child care enabling you to attend school and work 20 hours a week or participate in work study;
  • Are a single parent enrolled full-time in college and taking care of a child under 12; or
  • Are assigned to or placed in a college or other institution of higher education through:
    • A program under WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014);
    • A program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Adjustment Assistance Program);
    • An employment and training program under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (SNAP E&T); or
    • An employment and training program for low-income households operated by a state or local government, so long as the program has at least one component that is equivalent to a component under SNAP E&T.

EXPANDED temporary eligibility criteria for SNAP for college students due to COVID-19

College students enrolled at least halftime (6 credit hours undergraduate/4 credit hours graduate) can qualify for SNAP if:

  • Work-study eligible according to their Financial Aid offer letter or Federal Work Study SNAP eligibility Email notification from One Stop (even if not employed as a work study student).
  • Have $0 expected family contribution (EFC) according to their  Student Aid Report from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or $0 EFC notification email from One Stop.
How do I apply for benefits?

Apply online or call Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at (614) 466-4815. You can also contact the Jobs and Family Services office in your county of residence.

What if I am not an Ohio resident?

Since each state has its own SNAP applications, individuals seeking to apply or with questions about SNAP eligibility should contact their local SNAP offices, which can be found here.

What Information and/or documentation will I need when I apply?
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Household income
  • Cost of your rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes
  • Cost of daycare for a child or other dependent, if applicable
  • A copy of these documents will need to be submitted within 30 days of applying:
    • ID
    • Pay stubs for the last 30 days
    • Lease and utility bills
    • School schedule
    • Financial Aid offer letter or Email from the One Stop for Student Services confirming your eligibility for Federal Work Study or $0 EFC (if you qualify for expanded eligibility)
Where can I use my SNAP benefits?

SNAP benefits are issued through an Electronic Benefits Card (referred to as EBT) and are accepted by authorized retailers for food purchases only. You can find a list of retailers near you.

How do I determine if I am work-study eligible or have a $0 EFC?

While pandemic conditions persist, students who are work study eligible or with a $0 EFC from FAFSA, may be eligible or SNAP and are encouraged to apply. You will receive an email from the One Stop for Student Services confirming your eligibility for Federal Work Study or based on a $0 EFC. The email can be used to confirm your eligibility. Students with a $0 EFC can provide a copy of their Student Aid Report as confirmation.  If you no longer have the email, contact the One Stop and they will provide you with confirmation to provide to the agency.

What is considered at least half-time enrollment?

Half-time enrollment at Kent State is 6 or more credit hours for undergraduate students and 4 or more credit hours for graduates per semester (fall, spring, and summer). Individuals enrolled less than half-time may be SNAP-eligible if they meet all other SNAP eligibility requirements.

How much in SNAP benefits can I receive?

Right now, a one-person household can receive $234 per month to buy food. For as long as a state and federal public health emergency declaration are in effect, all SNAP households qualify for the maximum SNAP benefit monthly amount. Congress also boosted the maximum SNAP benefits amount by 15% during the pandemic.

How does SNAP determine who is in my household?

Students must apply with their entire SNAP household. A SNAP household consists of individuals who live together in the same residence and who purchase and prepare most meals together. It could include children, spouses, roommates, etc. For example, if you live in a house with four other people, but each of you buys and cooks your own food, your household size would be one. If you live with four other people and you all contribute to buying and making food together, your household size would be five.

What if I have a University meal plan?

Students who live in dormitories/residence halls and have campus meal plans that provide the majority of their meals are not eligible for SNAP.

I am an international student. Am I eligible for SNAP benefits?
Who do I contact for more information?

General information regarding SNAP Benefits should be directed to your county of residence Jobs & Family Services agency.

Apply online , and you can also contact the Jobs and Family Services office in your county of residence.