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SNAP extends food stamp eligibility for students during pandemic

Release Date
photo of food in a box

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 has temporarily expanded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to include students experiencing food insecurity and are enrolled at least half-time at HFC or any college.

This extends to students who either:

  1. Are eligible to participate in a state or federally financed work study program during the regular academic year, as determined by HFC
  2. Have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year

In the past, students who were not awarded and working at least 20 hours in the federal work study programs were prohibited from receiving SNAP benefits. This expansion to the regulations allows students who qualify for work study to receive these funds without having to work on campus.

“These benefits could make all the difference for students struggling to survive, as well as maintain both their physical and psychological well-being,” said Elizabeth Preston, HFC Financial Aid Specialist/SAFE@HFC Chair. “We know our LGBTQ+ students are impacted by hunger and homelessness at an increased rate compared with their more traditional peers. Other at-risk populations include students of color and those who were formerly in the foster care system.”

Benefits extended and increased

The federal government has also boosted the amount of FAP benefits. For someone who purchases and prepares their food alone, the FAP benefit could be as much as $234 per month! Eligible students can use FAP benefits to buy food through an EBT card (like a debit card). FAP can be used to buy food at supermarkets, local groceries, corner stores, farmers markets and online from Amazon, Walmart, and ALDI.

Where you can use your benefits

Students can find a list of FAP retailers on the retailer locator website.

Where you can apply

Go to the Michigan Bridges website to learn if you are eligible, and apply.

If you need additional assistance applying for benefits:
1. Visit the State of Michigan community partners website and enter your ZIP code to find an office that has trained professionals ready to help you.
2. Check with your local SNAP office for further assistance.

HFC options for food and personal assistance

In addition to SNAP benefits and the Bridge Program, there are other opportunities for assistance at HFC, including:

  • The Hawks’ Nest, a food pantry on the HFC campus that assists students with food insecurity
  • The HawkStrong Fund, which provides emergency grants to qualifying students.
  • SAFE@HFC, which assists LGBTQ+ students and allies and strives to make HFC a welcoming campus for everyone

“Now more than ever, students need to take advantage of these benefits,” said Preston. “We’re here to help.”