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Additional Federal Aid for Work Study Students - Food Stamps

zip100zip100 Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
edited April 2008 in Parents Forum
Even though the food stamp program helped both my husband and myself put ourselves through college, I had thought college students no longer qualified for food stamps. Apparently that's true, unless the student is receiving state or federal work study money.

My son heard us talking over winter break about how food stamps helped us through college, he looked it up, realized he might qualify, applied recently, and will now be receiving $150 a month in food stamps. His parents will still be eating rice and beans though.

Thought others might not be aware of the availablity of this additional "financial aid."
Post edited by zip100 on

Replies to: Additional Federal Aid for Work Study Students - Food Stamps

  • hornethornet Registered User Posts: 660 Member
    Ahh, food stamps! I received food stamps while in graduate school 28 years ago. At the suggestion of a friend, I applied and was granted $60.00 a month. I had a graduate teaching assistantship at the time and my income eligibility was based on that money. Dried bean soaked overnight and cooked with onion made a wonderful meal that lasted several days. Poor but fun times. I'd love to hear if other students are receiving these monies.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 73,736 Senior Member
    I also had food stamps as a grad student, but I was married and fully independent (for tax purposes too). I wonder...if the parents declare the student as a dependent, one would think they would not qualify for food stamps (unless the parents do too).
  • zip100zip100 Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
    In the early 70s I received food stamps as an undergraduate. If I remember correctly housemates all applied together because we shared a kitchen. It was contingent on who was in your "household" and not who claimed you as a dependent. I know I was eligible for food stamps but not a state scholarship because for that I was deemed a dependent of my parents. I also seem to remember that you couldn't get food stamps if you didn't have an address so homeless people were out of luck. It seems the requirements have changed so that homeless people are now eligible and you can be a household of one if you do not prepare or share meals with the rest of your "household."

    Here is the link on student eligibility:

  • Muffy333Muffy333 Registered User Posts: 2,108 Senior Member
    I would caution students to be extremely careful about applying for food stamps if they are a dependent on a parent's tax return...

    And even if there is a legal loophole, it is morally wrong for college undergrads under 21 whose parents are not poor to be applying for food stamp benefits. There are so many families who desperately need the assistance.
  • zip100zip100 Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member

    I don't view this as a legal loophole, but as a deliberate effort by the federal government to help support college students who are contributing to the expenses of their college education. The only students who are eligible for food stamps are those doing federal work study (and doesn't that mean that there is already some proven family need) and those who are working at least 20 hours a week (which also shows that there must be some family need or the necessity to be self supporting for some reason). I view it as an unpublicized and unrecognized program of educational support by the federal government (note how 2 posters have already testified to how it helped them through graduate school).

  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,368 Super Moderator
    note how 2 posters have already testified to how it helped them through graduate school).

    the difference is that according to the federal government, graduate students are considered independent students for financial aid purposes and their parent's income and assets are not considered when it comes to them applying for financial aid. So if a graduate student virtually has "no income" this is different from an undergrad who in the eyes of the Federal government is dependent on his her her parents.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 73,736 Senior Member
    I'm one of those two posters who got food stamps in grad school. That was in 1977...thirty years ago. AND as I said, I was married, and had been married for four years. I was not a dependent in any way shape or form. Times have changed. Many of these programs and the processes for gaining their benefits have changed. In reading the link provided, *I* would not have qualified for food stamps using the current criteria. AND neither do my kids (the grad student independent or the undergrad dependent).
  • hornethornet Registered User Posts: 660 Member
    Good point, zip. It is a a source of money for the financially independent student who needs additional support. I certainly never felt I was "taking from the poor". I was 22-25 years old, financially independent and the food stamps were carefully spent on simple nutritious foods. The food stamps helped reduce the amount of loans I assumed. I feel I have sufficiently given back to people of limited means through volunteer service and grant writing for special programs.
  • zip100zip100 Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
    I don't think any college student receiving food stamp prevents some other family from getting food stamps. They both qualify! But maybe in the case of the college student, the government is actually investing in the future of the country - by supplying additional help to students who have already received the maximum in other government aid that is contingent on a parents financial situation.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 25,786 Senior Member
    the USDA website is pretty clear that it's federal policy that an 18+ year old can qualify for food stamps while and undergrad (it doesn't specify grad school, so I assume undergrad counts too). Thus, I see no 'loophole' -- if the feds did not want an undergrad to apply, they would change the rules to eliminate that possibility.

    And, I concur with zip: the food stamp program is not a zero-sum policy, if money does run out before the end of the federal fiscal year, Congress always allocates more.
This discussion has been closed.