Expanded SNAP Eligibility for College Students
NYSOTDA Expands Student Eligibility
As of October 1, 2020, a SNAP policy change in NYS expanded the definition of an “eligible student,” allowing low-income students who were ineligible for SNAP to qualify to receive benefits. Nearly 75,000 students in career and technical programs may now qualify for SNAP.
Students may qualify for SNAP if they attend:
- a State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) including attending a technology college, or community college, and enrolled in a qualified certificate or degree Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
- an Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) and enrolled in a CTE program, remedial courses, basic adult education, literacy, or English as a second language.
Under SNAP rules, an individual between 18 and 49 years of age enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher learning cannot get SNAP unless they meet an exception. Exceptions include: participating in work study, working at least 20 hours per week, caring for a child, and being unable to work, among others.
See our SNAP Prescreening Guide pages 30 – 31 for full eligibility rules for students.
The new policy better defines an existing student exemption. This exemption states that any student assigned to, placed in, or who self-initiates placement in an institution of higher education through an employment and training program for low-income persons operated by a state or local government is found to be an exempt student, and can participate in SNAP.
The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) determined that CTE programs, as defined under the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, offered at a university, technology college, or community college within the SUNY or CUNY systems are considered comparable to a SNAP E&T program component. Therefore, individuals attending a SUNY or CUNY university, technology college, or community college and enrolled at least half-time in a qualified CTE program meet the criteria to be considered an eligible student for SNAP.
Additionally, individuals attending any of the 10 EOCs in New York State and enrolled at least half-time in CTE programs, remedial courses, basic adult education, literacy, or English as a second language meet the criteria to be considered an eligible student for SNAP.
When evaluating the eligibility of a SNAP applicant who is attending a SUNY or CUNY or who is an EOC student, the following applies:
- Students must be enrolled at least half-time in one of the following:
- CTE program defined under the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, or
- Remedial courses, basic adult education, literacy, or English as a second language program.
- SNAP offices will need to review and discuss the student exemption requirements during the eligibility interview.
Students must provide proof to the SNAP office that they meet the above criteria before they can be found eligible. The following documents are acceptable:
- LDSS-5172 SUNY/CUNY/EOC Student Verification of Enrollment,
- Signed letter from a SUNY, CUNY or EOC official,
- Electronic signatures from the college or EOC on the above form are acceptable.
- Any documentation that reasonably provides proof that the student meets this exemption, and includes:
- Enrollment status;
- Course of study or major; and,
- Whether or not the student is enrolled in a qualified CTE or EOC program.
SNAP offices must assist these applicants in obtaining documentation to verify SNAP student eligibility.
Students needing assistance in getting signed documentation from the college or EOC should contact the Office of the Registrar at their college or the Perkins Officer at an EOC.
Students meeting any student exemption and who have provided acceptable documentation are considered eligible for SNAP and are exempt from:
- SNAP E&T work requirements, and
- SNAP Time Limit Rules for ABAWD’s.
CUNY.edu/SNAP: CUNY launched this page to help CUNY students understand SNAP eligibility rules. Includes an FAQ for students, a list of eligible CTE classes offered at 10 CUNY colleges, information on how to verify enrollment in a CTE Program and much more.
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