College Students

Resources for College Students

Of 20 million college students, 39 percent are low-income and face the challenge of paying for tuition, housing costs, books, and food.  It is difficult to balance school, work, life, and a limited budget. We also know the physical and mental health effects these consequences have on developing individuals who are working to receive a higher education.

Learn why college students are especially vulnerable to food insecurity

SNAP for College Students

Students, 18 to 49, attending an institution of higher education, like a college, university, trade school, or technical school more than half-time are eligible for SNAP if they meet an exemption and meet all other SNAP eligibility requirements. You can ask your school what qualifies as “half-time.”

To meet the increased rates of food insecurity during the pandemic, there are new temporary eligibility requirements for SNAP that allow more students to receive benefits.

Beginning Jan. 16, 2021, two new types are now exempt. These are students who:

  1. Are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work-study during the regular school year. Your college or university determines if a student is considered eligible for work-study.
  2. Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year. Students receive an EFC after applying for financial aid.

As long as a student meets all other SNAP eligibility requirements they may receive SNAP benefits

Frequently Asked Questions: What are the student exemptions for SNAP?

Student exemptions will remain in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 federal public health emergency is lifted.

SNAP applications received 30 days after the COVID-19 federal public health emergency is lifted will be processed under the normal student eligibility rules. SNAP Recertifications due 30 days after the COVID-19 federal health emergency is lifted will be processed under the normal student eligibility rules.


ALL student exemptions to qualify for SNAP:

  • Are under age 18 or are age 50 or older.
  • Have a physical or mental disability.
  • 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 lack the necessary child care enabling them 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.
  • Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance.
  • Are enrolled in a TANF Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program.
  • Are assigned to, placed in, or self-placed in a college or other institution of higher education through:
    • A SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program;
    • Certain other E&T programs for low-income households, which are operated by a state or local government and have an equivalent component to SNAP E&T;
    • A program under Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA);
    • A Trade Adjustment Assistance Program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974

Visit for more information on CalFresh for college students in California!