Coalition Letter to Congress on Students and SNAP

May 8, 2023

Today, The Hope Center at Temple University led 108 organizations representing a diverse coalition of national, state, and local advocates, students, higher education associations, institutions of higher education, labor unions, researchers, and direct service providers calling on Congress to use the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization process to remove barriers to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that prevent college students from accessing critical food assistance and reform the program’s complex eligibility rules to support postsecondary attainment and workforce development.

One in three college students (34%) report having low or very low food security, and another 13% report only marginal food security. Students who are food insecure are more likely to have a lower grade point average, take a reduced course load, and consider dropping out of college. Research has also documented that college food insecurity is strongly associated with mental and behavioral health challenges, including depression and anxiety. Basic needs insecurity severely threatens students’ ability to persist in and complete higher education, and contributes to students leaving college without a degree or credential, often with significant student debt and uncertain job prospects.

The coalition letter offers several common-sense models for removing restrictions in SNAP that create barriers for college students with low incomes, expanding the SNAP student exemptions to those at risk of food insecurity, and removing administrative and other hurdles to ensure those who meet SNAP eligibility criteria are able to access and use their benefits.