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SNAP for Low-Income College Students​


The Department of Human Services (DHS) and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced a temporary change in eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), expanding eligibility to certain college students who qualify based off their families’ income but normally would be ineligible for the program due to being a student.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, expanded previous limitations to SNAP eligibility access, opening possibilities for college students enrolled in higher education at least half-time, under the new following two criteria:

  • Students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 based on their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  • Students eligible to participate in the federal or state work-study program during the current academic year (this applies even if a work-study assignment has not started or is not available).

This eligibility will remain in place until 30 days after the public health emergency ends. Since the Biden Administration has advised that the declaration will most likely remain in place at least until the end of 2021 and states will have 60 days-notice before it ends, this policy change will more than likely be something that can help families for the remainder of the crisis.

Even if you don't meet one of the new rules, you may still qualify. Students can get SNAP if they have young children, have a disability, are working 20 hours a week or more, are in community college, or are in school less than half time, among other exceptions.

Why Apply for SNAP

Our ways of life and routines have changed greatly in the last year because of COVID-19. If you work and go to school, your job may have changed and hours may have been reduced or may no longer be available. It may make circumstances harder for students and their families. 

If eligible, SNAP can provide extra support that ensures that students will be able to buy groceries and not have to choose between a meal and another bill. Even If just for now, this line of support can make a difference as we continue to experience this pandemic. 

How to Apply for SNAP

Please apply using the option that best suits you. If you do not know if you are eligible, you may still apply.

  • Online: Apply for or renew your SNAP benefits online by using COMPASS
  • Phone: Call 1-866-550-4355 to apply via phone.

If you need help completing the application form or need more information about benefits, you can call your local county assistance office.