Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Manual

1135.025.00 Students in Institutions of Higher Education

IM-07 January 23, 2019; IM-05 January 14, 2010; IM-37 April 4, 2006; IM-87 August 18, 2005; IM-103 October 4, 2004IM-128 July 17, 2001

An EU member is considered enrolled in an institution of higher education, regardless of the method of instruction:

  • If the EU member is enrolled at least half-time in a business, technical, trade, or vocational school that normally requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate for enrollment in the curriculum; or
  • If the individual is enrolled in a regular curriculum at a college or university that offers degree programs regardless of whether a high school diploma is required.

    EXAMPLE: Mr. C is enrolled in the American Broadcasting School full-time. This school does not require a GED or a high school diploma to enroll. Student must pass an exam similar to the SAT exam in order to enroll. The program is a 10 month online training program preparing students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation. The American Broadcasting School meets the definition of an institution of higher education. Mr. C must meet eligible student criteria to be considered eligible for Food Stamps.

    NOTE: Students enrolled in on-campus classes, internet classes, CD-ROM, DVD, Hybrid classes, and other types of courses are considered enrolled in an institution of higher education if the courses meet one of the above criteria.

An EU member who is not enrolled in an institution of higher education at least half-time is not considered to be a student of higher education for the Food Stamp Program. Obtain verification from the school if the student claims to be enrolled at least half-time attendance. It is not necessary to verify part-time enrollment.

Student eligibility is entered on the Education/Student Information (FMAJ) screen. Follow instructions outlined in the Adding and Updating Education/Student Information and Education Detail user guide for completing fields on the Education/Student Information (FMAJ) and Education Detail (FMAI) screens.

The EU must meet all other Food Stamp eligibility requirements to be eligible for Food Stamp benefits.

Student Eligibility Codes: Enter the code that applies to the student’s status

D- Does not apply:

  • attending high school
  • not attending an institution of higher education at least half-time
  • enrolled in schools and training programs that are not institutions of higher education

E- Exempt Student:

  • Be under age 18 or age 50 or older
  • Be physically or mentally unfit. If mental or physical unfitness is claimed but not evident, verification may be required. A statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist or receipt of temporary or permanent disability benefits from the government or private sources is acceptable documentation.

Y- Yes Eligible Student:

  • Employed and paid for an average of 20 hours per week
  • Self-employed for an average of 20 hours per week and receive weekly earnings averaging at least equal to the federal minimum wage multiplied by 20 hours (in-kind income does not qualify as wages)
  • Participating in a state or federally-financed work study program during the regular school year. To qualify under this provision:
    • the student must be approved for work study at the time of application for food stamps
    • the work study must be approved for the school term, and
    • the student must anticipate actually working during that time

      NOTE: For students who are eligible based on participation in a state or federally-financed work study program, eligibility begins the month in which the school term begins or the month work study is approved, whichever is later. It continues until the end of the month in which the school term ends, or it becomes known that the student has refused an assignment. Eligibility does not continue between terms when there is a break of a full month or longer unless the student is participating in work study during the break.

  • Participating in an on-the-job training program (a person is considered to be participating in an on-the-job training program only during the period of time the person is being trained by the employer)
  • Enrolled as a result of participation in the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills program under Title IV of the Social Security Act
  • Responsible for the physical care of a dependent EU member under age six (only one adult in the household may claim this responsibility)
  • Responsible for the physical care of a dependent EU member over age five but under age 12 if adequate child care is not available (meaning the student does not have child care allowing him/her to go to school and also work at least 20 hours a week or participate in a work study program). Only one adult in the EU may claim this responsibility.
  • A full-time student of higher education who is a single parent with responsibility for a dependent child under age 12
  • Receiving Temporary Assistance benefits
  • Assigned to or placed in an institution of higher education through a program under WIOA, an employment or training program under the Food Stamp Program (SkillUP), a program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974, or other employment and training program operated by a state or local government. Students working with the SkillUP program are meeting student eligibility regardless of number of hours.

    NOTE: Receiving money from WIA does not alone qualify an individual as an eligible student because WIA funding can cover so many issues.

The enrollment status of a student begins on the first day of the school term of the institution of higher education. If the student is planning on returning to college in the fall, s/he is still considered a student through summer vacation.