Student SNAP Waivers Denied

By Madeline St. Armour


It’s unclear how many students are affected by this decision because there isn’t much data on it, according to Lauren Walizer, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). But some of the states provided estimates for how many students currently receive SNAP benefits, or estimates for how many additional students would gain eligibility, in their waiver requests. For example, Illinois said about 11,000 people who currently receive SNAP are college students. New Hampshire estimates another 6,800 people would become eligible for SNAP, in addition to the students who are currently eligible.

report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office also found that nearly half of the students who would be eligible for SNAP do not receive the assistance. It’s likely, given the current crises, that even more students will need assistance. But many will not be able to meet the work requirements.

CLASP is disappointed in the agency’s decision, said Ashley Burnside, a policy analyst there.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will make it harder for students to work, to earn a living wage and to access food for themselves and their families. Students shouldn’t have to choose between feeding themselves and breaking social distance in a public health crisis. Now more than ever, students need access to SNAP food assistance benefits for the duration of the COVID-19 medical emergency,” she said via email.

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