Being a student is stressful enough. Worrying about whether or not your belly will be full enough to focus on school shouldn't be one of those stressors. SNAP benefits (food stamps) may alleviate some of the financial burdens related to purchasing healthy, nutritious, foods. The average one-person households receives $132/month for groceries, which can be used at convenience stores, grocery stores, the farmers’ market, and even OSU’s Cascadia Market.

Eligibility  

Many students may be eligible for SNAP without even realizing it! If you are a student ages 18-49, enrolled at least part time in school, you may qualify for SNAP if you meet the income requirements and also:

  • Work at least 20 hours per week,

or

  • Take care of a household or family member under the age of six,

or

  • Take part in a work study program,

or

  • Are taking care of a household member over five but under 12, and do not have child care that enables the individual to attend school and work a minimum of 20hr/ week,

or

  • Are unable to work due to physical or physiological difficulties,

or

  • Receive Unemployment Compensation, TANF, WIA, or assistance benefits under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act. (For a full list of additional eligibility criteria, see here.)         

Common SNAP Questions:                  

A:  A household is made up of the people you purchase and prepare meals with. For    example, if you life in a house with four other people, but each of you buys and cooks your own food, your household size would be one.  If you live with four other people and you all contribute to buying and making food together, your household size would be five.

A: In most cases, people with student visas cannot receive SNAP.  There are some special conditions in which non-citizens can obtain SNAP benefits. You can read more about them here.

A: Students coming from out of state just need to have an Oregon mailing address and be residing in Oregon to apply for benefits. If they plan to leave Oregon at the end of the school year to go back to their home state, they would need to notify DHS and close their file. Students then need to reapply when they come back to Oregon for the next school year.

A: When students mark that they receive SNAP benefits on the FAFSA form, it often pushes them to 0 EFC (Estimated Family Contribution), which is the “highest need” category – for some students, this will actually increase the amount of financial aid they get (though, for most students, it’s probably about the same either way).

A: SNAP is not a form of income, it’s non-taxeable. A tax professional can weigh in more, but it's unlikely this would impact anyone's taxes. 

A: No, you will not have to pay more in taxes now and unless they do a major legislative change, you won’t have to pay more later (I think this would be extremely unlikely). To be honest, you’re already paying for SNAP right now when you and your family pay taxes. So, you might as well use it.