Higher Education

Democrats again aim to expand SNAP for college students as end of COVID-era benefits nears

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Dive Transient: 

  • Congressional Democrats are as soon as once more trying to increase the Supplemental Diet Help Program, previously generally known as meals stamps, to low-income faculty college students. 
  • Federal lawmakers made it simpler for school college students to entry this system through the coronavirus pandemic, however these emergency advantages are slated to run out in June. When that occurs, faculty college students might want to meet necessities past the usual revenue standards to qualify for the SNAP program, together with working a mean of 20 hours per week. 
  • The newly proposed laws would remove the work necessities for school college students, permitting them to qualify for SNAP as long as they had been enrolled at the very least half time in the next schooling establishment.

Dive Perception: 

Pupil success advocates have lengthy bemoaned SNAP’s guidelines as counterproductive for school college students. They argue that working 20 hours per week hurts college students’ means to concentrate on their research, and research has backed up concerns that it might impede their means to remain enrolled. 

Meals insecurity can also be prevalent on faculty campuses.

In fall 2020, 38% of school college students attending two-year establishments and 29% of these enrolled in four-year establishments reported experiencing meals insecurity up to now month, based on a 2021 report from The Hope Middle for Faculty, Neighborhood and Justice. That features worrying they might run out of meals earlier than they subsequent acquired paid and skipping meals as a result of they couldn’t afford them. 

Lawmakers permitted the non permanent growth of this system in 2020 in response to the pandemic. It allowed faculty college students to entry SNAP advantages in the event that they both certified for the Federal Work-Examine program or got here from households who weren’t anticipated to have the ability to contribute to their faculty prices. Pupil advocates have lauded the adjustments and pushed to make them everlasting.

Nevertheless, the non permanent measure is slated to run out June 11, a month after President Joe Biden formally lifted the general public well being emergency tied to COVID-19. 

“With emergency COVID-19 SNAP advantages for school college students set to run out subsequent month, we have to simplify eligibility for essential SNAP advantages to fight meals insecurity plaguing low-income faculty college students throughout New York State and the nation,” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who launched the invoice within the Senate, stated in a statement

The invoice has additionally been launched within the Home, the place it has greater than 120 cosponsors. No Republicans have signed onto the proposal. 

If handed, the invoice might drastically increase what number of faculty college students are eligible for SNAP. In New York alone, 290,000 extra faculty college students would qualify, based on a latest announcement. 

Democratic lawmakers have frequently tried to increase SNAP to extra faculty college students. 

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, from California, has launched a model of the proposal every year since 2019, although it has failed to achieve traction. The invoice could face an uphill battle in a divided Congress, the place Republicans management the Home and Democrats have a razor-thin majority within the Senate.

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