Giving Compass’ Take:
· According to Education Dive, a number of college organizations have voiced their support for legislation aiming to reduce food insecurity on campus and expand access to SNAP benefits.
· What is the SNAP program and how can the federal government expand access for college students?
Lawmakers and policy experts are confident SNAP is a more viable long-term solution for improving food access on campus than ad-hoc efforts such as food banks and emergency financial aid.
“Those are stop-gap solutions and not completely reliable,” said Jill Desjean, a policy analyst at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, which was one of the letter’s signatories, in an interview with Education Dive. “Once a student is eligible, SNAP is a stable, reliable source.”
But getting students to sign up has been a challenge.
The legislation follows a GAO report published in January that said many colleges and students don’t know how to use SNAP. Slightly more than half of the 3.3 million students who were potentially eligible for SNAP in 2016 didn’t partake of the program’s benefits largely for that reason, the report noted.
Eligibility is also an issue for part-time students.
The legislation proposes to expand SNAP eligibility to students who qualify for Pell Grants and halve the number of hours a student must work per week to qualify for SNAP benefits to 10 hours. It also calls for a pilot program to explore tailoring SNAP to college students’ needs.
Read the full article about accessing SNAP benefits by Shailaja Neelakantan at Education Dive.
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