Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is a federal anti-hunger program that provides benefits to low-income households for purchasing food. In 2011, SNAP served nearly 45 million low-income individuals, almost 75% of whom are families with children. CLASP provides policy analysis and conducts advocacy efforts to expand access of SNAP programs and services for low-income families.
Sep 15, 2016 | PERMALINK »
CA signs new law to improve benefits access for low-income students
By Duy Pham
On September 12, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the College Student Hunger Relief Act (AB 1747), a bill designed to improve benefits access for low-income college students. Specifically, it will increase access to food assistance programs, reducing hunger as well as financial barriers that threaten low-income students’ college completion. CLASP commends the state’s effort to provide nontraditional students the support they need to succeed in postsecondary education.
AB 1747 (Weber) enables students who qualify for the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP)—an optional component of SNAP that gives counties the discretion to allow homeless, disabled, or elderly people to use their benefits for prepared meals—to purchase freshly cooked food at on-campus food facilities. Under the new law, postsecondary institutions in counties participating in RMP will be required to register as approved food vendors. The bill also establishes a fund to support partnerships between food banks and on-campus kitchens, as well as codifies existing practice to support SNAP campus outreach. Using information from the Department of Social Services, the law further requires institutions to annually inform students about the program.
For many nontraditional students, unmet financial need—the gap between college costs and what students have to pay—is a significant barrier toward pursuing and completing college. Students with high unmet need are more likely to borrow or work more, cut their course loads, or even drop out. Ensuring students are able to access public benefits, such as SNAP, can help low-income students make ends meet while in school. CLASP’s report Lessons Learned from a Community College Initiative to Help Low-Income Students discusses the results of Benefits Access for College Completion (BACC), our 2.5-year initiative to increase access to public benefits for eligible low-income students. An evaluation of BACC demonstrates a direct correlation between increased benefits access and improved progress toward degree completion.
CLASP looks forward to California’s continued efforts to address student hunger and connect them to public benefits that support persistence and completion. These initiatives should be a model for federal and state policymakers who want to help low-income students build skills, obtain credentials, and succeed in today’s economy.
- Helly Lee and Elizabeth Lower-Basch | Apr 16, 2015 Q & A: Meeting ABAWD Activity Requirements through Training Activities
- Randi Hall and Helly Lee | Mar 20, 2015 FNS Announces SNAP E&T Pilots in 10 States
- Elizabeth Lower-Basch | Mar 10, 2014 SNAP E&T Overview
- Helly Lee | Feb 11, 2014 Congress Enacts Farm Bill After Years of Debate and Negotiations
- Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan | Nov 21, 2012 Access to Food Stamps in Early Childhood Leads to Better Adult Health and Economic Outcomes
- Duy Pham | Sep 15, 2016 CA signs new law to improve benefits access for low-income students
- CLASP | Aug 16, 2016 2013-2014 Bi-Annual Report
- Aug 05, 2016 Food Insecurity, SNAP Participation Higher in LGBT Community
- Nune Phillips | Jul 26, 2016 CLASP Comments on Proposal on Request for Information on SNAP Data Exchange Standardization
- Nune Phillips | Jul 22, 2016 SNAP Proposals to Ban “Junk Food” Ignore Realities of Food Insecurity