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College Student

Student Eligibility

Are you a student, age 18 to 49 enrolled at least half-time in a college, university, community college, or business, technical, trade, or vocational school that requires a high school diploma?

If so, you may be eligible for food assistance through New Jersey’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is a federal program that can help individuals and families with low-incomes buy the groceries they need to eat healthy. Eligibility depends on several factors like income, household size, resources, etc.

In addition to income eligibility factors, students also must fit at least ONE of the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in an approved Career and Technical Education Program at a New Jersey community college;
  • Be employed at least 20 hours per week AND paid for such work;
  • Be participating in a federal work study program during the school year;
  • Be participating in an on-the-job training program;
  • Be responsible for the care of a member of your household who is a dependent under the age of six years-old;
  • Be a single parent enrolled full-time AND responsible for a dependent under the age 12 years-old;
  • Be unable to work due to a physical or mental disability; or
  • Be receiving Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits (cash assistance).

For more information click here or visit your county board of social services. To  screen for eligibility and apply online, go to www.NJHelps.org.    

If you are interested in information on health care, visit www.NJFamilyCare.org.

If you need help paying for child care, check out www.ChildCareNJ.gov

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can students receive NJ SNAP?

Yes, if they meet certain conditions. In addition to the general SNAP income and other eligibility requirements, students between the ages of 18 and 49 and fit at least ONE of the following requirements to be eligible:

  • Enrolled in an approved Career and Technical Education Program at a New Jersey community college;
  • Employed at least 20 hours per week AND paid for such work;
  • Participating in a federal work study program during the school year;
  • Participating in an on-the-job training program;
  • Responsible for a household member who is a dependent under the age of six;
  • A single parent enrolled full-time AND responsible for a dependent under the age 12;
  • Unable to work due to a physical or mental disability; or
  • Receiving Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits (cash assistance).

Who is considered a student?

For NJ SNAP, a student is anyone who is enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education. Half-time is defined by the school and is usually based on the number of credits or hours enrolled.

What is an institution of higher education?

An institution of higher education is any public or private educational institution that requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate for enrollment. Examples include colleges, universities, business, technical, trade and vocational schools.

How do I determine if my community college program is an approved Career and Technical Education Program?

Your school’s Financial Aid Office, or the Office of the Registrar, can verify if your program of study is an approved Career and Technical Education program.  The County Board of Social Services will need verification from the school to confirm that your program is approved.  You can download a copy of the verification form by clicking here.

What are the income eligibility standards for SNAP?

Eligibility depends on several factors like income, household size, resources, etc. Below is the gross income (before taxes) eligibility standard for most households.

NJSNAP Eligibility Standard 2018-19

 

Who is part of a SNAP household?

For SNAP purposes your household includes anyone who purchases and prepares food together.  There does not have to be any family or legal relationship to be part of the same SNAP household.  Roommates can be considered a SNAP household depending on how they buy and cook food.  A person who is age 21 or younger who is living with their parent(s) must include the parent(s) in the SNAP household.

How can I find out if I’m eligible?

If you are not sure if you are eligible, based on the information provided above, you can use a screening tool available at www.NJHelps.org. This will also screen your eligibility for cash assistance (WFNJ/TANF or WFNJ/GA) and/or health insurance (NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid).

Remember, you must still meet one of the other student eligibility requirements listed above. Screening takes about 5-10 minutes to complete, and you will need to provide monthly income information.

If you want to apply for SNAP, you can submit an online application by clicking Apply on the bottom right hand corner on www.NJHelps.org . The online application can take 20-45 minutes to complete.

What does it mean to be physically or mentally unfit for work?

A physical or mental disability means a condition that prevents you from engaging in 20 hours of work per week. A doctor's note may be necessary to support any physical or mental limitation that may not be obvious to a county social services worker reviewing your application. You do not have to be participating in a federal disability program such as Social Security Disability.

I am a college student and a single parent, can I receive NJ SNAP?

Yes, you may be eligible if you meet the income and expense requirements and your child is living with you and is under 6 years of age.  If you are a single parent you can qualify if you meet the income and expense requirements and your child is living with you and is under 12 years of age.

My spouse and I are enrolled in college at the same time and we have a child under the age of 6. How does this work for us?

One parent can claim one child under the age of 6. If you have other children under 6, the other parent can claim that child/children for student eligibility. If you only have one child under the age of 6, the other parent may still be eligible if they meet one of the other student eligibility requirements listed above. 

I think I may be eligible, what should I do next?

You can apply online here, or you can apply in person at your county Board of Social Services. You will need to fill out an application and bring supporting documents with you. For a list of documents you may need, click here.

What is the application process like?

After you submit an application, your county Board of Social Services will contact you to schedule an interview. Interviews may be over the phone or in person – depending on your situation. You must complete this interview. The interviewer will tell you what documents you must provide as proof of the information you stated during your application and interview. For example, proof of your identity, residency, income and who lives in your house must be provided before your application can be approved. 

If your application is approved, you will be issued a Families First Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which will contain your benefits.

What is WFNJ/TANF and WFNJ/GA?

WFNJ/TANF stands for Work First New Jersey/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It provides temporary cash assistance and many other support services to families. You can find out more here.

WFNJ/GA stands for Work First New Jersey/General Assistance. It provides temporary cash assistance and support services to individuals and couples with no dependent children. You can find out more here.

What other supports may be available to students?

Other supports may include cash assistance, child care, child support, health insurance and energy assistance. Visit the Department of Human Services homepage for other resources.

 

> NJSNAP/Student flyer 11 x 17 (pdf) 

 

Updated: 04/11/19

 
 
 
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