SNAP for Students FAQ

You might be eligible for SNAP benefits (funds for groceries from the government!) Fill out this quick survey to learn more.

View more information from the official SNAP website and begin your application here.


What is SNAP?

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal program that helps eligible people with financial need get more money for food. SNAP benefits are used to purchase food at grocery stores, some online retailers, and some farmers’ markets. They are meant to supplement your grocery budget which also includes money from other sources. You don’t need to pay SNAP benefits back.
  • Everyone who applies for SNAP and is eligible will receive SNAP benefits, and using SNAP benefits does NOT take away benefits from anyone else. Federal funding for SNAP increases when more people are enrolled in SNAP.

How does SNAP work?

  • If you are eligible for benefits, you will receive an EBT card (Electronic Benefit Transfer) that looks like a credit or debit card. This card will have your SNAP benefit money loaded onto it every month. You will need to choose a code or PIN (personal identification number) that you will enter when you are in the check-out line at the grocery store.

Am I eligible for SNAP?

  • As a student, you may be eligible for SNAP benefits if you meet ALL of the following criteria:
    • Live in a University apartment or off campus (not in a residence hall)
      Do not have a campus meal plan, or have a campus meal plan that provides less than half of your meals
    • Earn less than $2,265 a month (amount is higher if you have additional members in your household)
    • Meet citizenship requirements (see below)
    • Meet at least one of the following criteria:
      • You are eligible to participate in a federal or state work-study program
      • You have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 based on your FAFSA for the current academic year
      • You work 20 hours or more per week
      • You are physically or mentally unable to work
      • You are caring for a child under age 6, or a child between 6 and 11 AND childcare is unavailable
      • You are a single parent with a child under 12
      • You are under age 18 or over age 50

Take the screening survey to find out if you should apply.

Who is eligible for SNAP based on citizenship status?

How much financial assistance can I expect if I receive SNAP benefits?

  • Monthly SNAP benefit amounts vary based on income, expenses, and household size. For a one-person household, the monthly SNAP benefit ranges from $20 – $281.

How do my roommates affect my household size?

  • If you do not buy and eat most of your food together, your roommates do not count as part of your household and you would be considered an individual/household of 1. 
    • The application might still ask about your roommates, but you don’t need to list their incomes.
  • If you do buy and eat most of your food together, your roommates do count as part of your household. 
    • If you apply together as a household, you need to list all of your incomes, but you’ll also be awarded more benefits based on the number of people in the household.

Does being a dependent affect SNAP eligibility?

  • If a student does not live with family (regardless of if they are dependent or independent) they can apply for SNAP on their own, without including their families income
  • If the student is under 22 years of age and lives at home with their parents, they must apply for SNAP benefits as a family and include all family members’ incomes

Can PSEO students receive SNAP?

  • If the PSEO student is under 22 and living with their parents, they must all apply for SNAP as a household. 

If I’m on a meal plan, does this impact my eligibility?

Yes, if a student receives 50% or more of their meals by the institution they are not eligible for SNAP benefits. 

Meal Plan Eligible for SNAP Benefits
15-Plus Meal Plan with 100 flex points Probably not
10-Plus Meal Plan with 150 flex points Probably not
5-Plus Meal Plan with 345 flex points Probably yes
Block 100 with 345 flex points Probably yes
Block 150 with 150 flex points Probably yes

 

Do internships count toward the 20 hours per week work requirement?

  • Unpaid internships do not count toward the hourly work requirements.
  • If the internship is paid, then yes, it would count towards the 20 hours per week work requirements. 
  • If you qualify for work-study (even if you don’t actually do it or don’t work the full 20 hours per week), you can be eligible for SNAP.
    • If you’re not sure if you qualify for work-study, check with the Financial Aid office.

Where can I find all the documents I need for the application process?

  • Refer to our Augsburg-specific guide on where to find your:
    • Proof of Identity
    • Proof of Income
    • Proof of School Expenses
    • Proof of Shelter Expense
    • Financial Aid Award Letter (including work study, if applicable)
    • Proof of EFC of $0

What if my job/hours/income change during the application process or after approval?

  • If you start working less than you did when you applied, you may have to report a reduction in work hours and any income changes to the county worker.
    •  The county worker will decide if you still meet the required work hours. 
  • SNAP recipients have two different reporting requirements for changes:
    • If you are a six-month reporter, you have to report when your income goes up about 130% for your household size.
    • If you are a change reporter, you need to report income changes of $100. 
  • Changes must be reported by the 10th of the month following the month of the change.

Does financial aid count as income?

Financial aid that does not count as income includes:

  • Title IV financial aid, which is financial aid that is wholly or partially funded by the United States Department of Education, including (but not limited to):
    • Pell or Basic Educational Opportunity Grant Program (BEOG) grants
    • Presidential Access Scholarships (Super Pell)
    • Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
    • Minnesota State Scholarships and Grants
    • Stafford Loan (formerly Guaranteed Student Loan)
    • PLUS loans, etc.
  • Tribal Development Student Assistance Revolving Loans (DSARLP) made under the Tribal Development Student Assistance Act. 
  • Income from Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) student assistance programs, formerly known as Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
  • Non-Title IV or BIE student loans if repayment is non-deferred.

Financial aid that does count as income includes:

  • Non-Title IV or BIE, student loans if repayment is deferred.

For non-Title IV or BIE student loans, “deferred” means the financial institution does not require repayment for 60 days or more from when the loan was issued

  • Whether or not you’re currently making payments does not affect whether a loan is a “deferred” payment loan.

I have multiple addresses. Which address should I use for my SNAP application?

  • If the address where you currently live is different from your permanent address, you should list the address where you currently live as your address on your SNAP application.
  • If you move within Minnesota, you will need to provide your new address to your county by submitting a change report form. If you have changed counties, the management of your SNAP benefits will be transferred to the new county you are living in.
  • If you move out of Minnesota (e.g. over the summer), you will need to reapply for SNAP in the state you move to, and/or reapply for SNAP benefits when you return to Minnesota.
  • If you currently live outside of Minnesota, contact your local SNAP office to apply.

Does receiving SNAP benefits affect my taxes or financial aid?

  • No. SNAP benefits do not count as taxable income, so they don’t affect your taxes or financial aid award. 

What is the SNAP application process like? How long will it take? What documents will I need to provide?

  • SNAP benefits are managed by a team of people who work for the county you live in. They are financial workers and they will be your main contacts to check the status of your application and to recertify. If you’re not sure which county you live in, you can look it up using your zip code.
  • There are six steps involved in applying for, receiving, and maintaining SNAP benefits:
    • 1. Complete an application at mnbenefits.mn.gov
      • Time required: 20 minutes or less
      • Complete an application on your computer or phone. You will be asked to provide information about yourself including estimates of your income and expenses, and the names of any people who live with you. You will not be required to create a username or password.
      • You can provide supporting documentation (like pay stubs and documentation of your housing expenses) when you apply or upload it later, within 30 days of the date you submitted your application.
      • You can provide your best guess for your income, hours worked per week, and other specifics like the amount of money you have in savings and checking accounts. Specific amounts can be provided later, when you submit supporting documents.
      • Once you submit your application, if you provide your email address you will receive two emails: one with a copy of your application, and another with information about next steps.
    • 2. Start gathering and submitting all required documents
      • Timeframe: Documents must be uploaded within 30 days of submitting your application
      • Important: You will need to provide financial aid information to your county, including your financial aid award and cost of attendance. Note that financial aid does not count as income. The simplest way to provide documentation of your financial aid is to have One Stop complete this Financial Aid Information form and submit it to your county. There are two ways to work with One Stop to get this form completed:
        • 1. In person: Bring the Financial Aid Information form (printed or on your laptop) and your U card or other picture ID to One Stop and work with a One Stop Counselor to fill the form out.
        • 2. By email: Fill out the student portions of the form and electronically sign the ‘Authorization for Release of Information’ section on the first page. (Here are instructions for electronically signing a form using Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.) Then, send the signed form to onestop@umn.edu from your UMN email address and include your student ID in the email. One Stop staff will fill it out and send it back to you so you can send it to the county.
      • You will also need to submit the following types of documents to your county:
        • Identification (driver’s license, state ID, passport, etc.)
        • Social security numbers of the people in your household (just yours if you buy food & cook by yourself)
        • Proof of income from the last 30 days (paystubs, or federal income tax records if you are self-employed) and documentation of any other money coming into your household (unemployment, pension, etc.). The county will verify Social Security income.
        • Housing costs (lease, rent/house payment receipt, mortgage, etc.)
      • Additional documentation may be required depending on your situation.
      • Find your county to see how they prefer to receive documents.
      • If you do not upload all required documents within 30 days of the date you submitted your application, the county will close your case and you will need to start your application over by submitting a new application.
    • 3. Complete a phone interview with a financial worker from your county 
      • Timeframe: Within 30 days of submitting your application
      • You can expect to get a letter in the mail from your county 7-10 days after submitting your application. The letter will list a date and time span in which the county financial worker will call you to complete a phone interview.
      • When the county calls you, it may look like you’re getting a call from an unknown number. It is recommended that you answer any call that comes to your phone during the specified interview date and time.
      • If you haven’t received a letter from your county within two weeks of submitting your application or if you need to reschedule your phone interview, call your county directly. You can ask to complete your phone interview with the person you reach when you call.
    • 4. SNAP application determination
      • Timeframe: You will receive a letter in the mail from your county within 30 days of the date you submitted your SNAP application letting you know whether you have been approved or denied for SNAP benefits.
      • If you were not approved for SNAP benefits and you think you should be eligible, see below [link to below].
    • 5. Getting your EBT card
      • Timeframe: You will receive your SNAP EBT card in the mail 5-7 days after you are approved for SNAP benefits.
      • The card comes in a plain envelope and may easily be overlooked–be on the lookout for your card if you have recently been approved for SNAP benefits.
    • 6. Recertification
      • Timeframe: 12 months
      • As a SNAP recipient, you will be required to report major changes (like a change in income, housing expenses, home address, or household size) soon after they happen, or at least every 6 months. You will also be required to recertify your eligibility for SNAP benefits every twelve months.
      • Your county will tell you what changes need to be reported and how to report them, and how to complete the recertification process.

What is the recertification process like for SNAP benefits?

  • One year after the application is approved, a recertification packet will be sent directly to the mailing address on your file.
    • In some cases, recertification may be needed after only 6 months or not until 24 months after approval, but typically SNAP in Minnesota is approved for 12 months at a time.
  • The recertification process is very similar to the original application process, except that you’re not starting from scratch.
  • An interview with a county worker may be required as part of the recertification process.