College Guide


August 23, 2010 10:00 AM Food Stamps for College Students

By Daniel Luzer

Apparently more college students are now finding it difficult to make ends meet. So they’re increasingly applying for Food Stamps. Really.

According to a piece at Sacramento, California’s KCRA:

A record number of college students are applying for food stamps in today’s tough economy. There are 1500 college students receiving food stamps in Sacramento Country. Two years ago only about 700 students received food stamps.

It’s not just in California either. While recent national statistics are unavailable, many schools are apparently encouraging students to take part in the program, which provides assistance to help low- income people buy food in the United States.

In what seems like an oddly upbeat tone, Portland State University touts the benefits of the Food Stamp program with its Nutrition, it’s a SNAP! campaign:

Being a college student is hard work! Not just academically, but financially too. As tuition increases, many students struggle to make ends meet. As if taking a full class load wasn’t stressful enough!
Fortunately, help is available for qualifying students. Many students are surprised to learn that they may be eligible for Food Stamps.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the official name for the federal Food Stamps program.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • carl on November 29, 2010 4:58 PM:

    I'm pretty late on this, but I'm a college student in California and I've been denied food stamps every time I applied. Their reason was because I am an unemployed college student.

  • Erica on December 20, 2011 1:03 PM:

    I'm a college student in Nevada and I'm dealing with the same issue as Carl. Because I'm in school I was immediately denied food stamps. College does NOT FEED ME!
    Why am I being denied food stamps while others who are BOTH unemployed and making no effort to get an education will receive food stamps?

    Why am I being punished for trying to better myself? If I was lazy trailer trash/ghetto dweller making illegitimate babies, I'd be given food stamps without question.

  • B.R. on January 01, 2012 9:22 PM:

    From what I have read, students are eligible for food stamps if they are a college student and have been awarded work study (or are employed at least part-time). Students are awarded work study through federal financial aid, and that award is based on displayed need.

    While it's clearly not a perfect system and not fair or true in every case, this prevents students who are not eligible for work study (because they don't have the need for that level of federal financial aid) from applying for Food Stamps. I think that is a way to avoid having students who are receiving financial support from their parents (who are financially capable of supporting them) apply for food stamps.

    If you think you qualify for federal aid and haven't applied, fill out your FAFSA for 2012 ASAP and maybe you will qualify for the next school year.

    If you don't qualify and you aren't receiving monetary support from your parents, you can appeal the federal aid people if you can prove that you don't receive support. I've never had to do it, so I'm not sure how.

  • Timmi on March 14, 2012 6:53 PM:

    I am a full time nursing student, I am unable to work due to the demanding work and school schedule. I am also unable to collect due to my unemployment status.

  • Carol Batten on August 05, 2012 4:25 PM:

    It's not true that it's because they think your parents are supporting the student.Students are denied even if their parents are receiving foodstamps.

    Though I think it's low to call someone trailer trash.Trash lives every where.I agree students should not lose eligibility because they're trying to make something of theirselves while those who don't continue to receive benefits.Talk about an incentive to give up, the government certainly provides one.