WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) are building upon their work to combat food insecurity by introducing the Overcoming Higher Education Hunger Through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (OHH SNAP) Act. This legislation would allow independent students and students with an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 to be eligible to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Connecticut is home to more than 40 colleges and universities and 380,000 – or 1 in 10 – Connecticut residents reportedly struggle with hunger.
The Overcoming Higher Education Hunger Through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Act would also make it easier for students to access SNAP benefits by excluding financial aid used for living expenses from personal income and counting time spent attending an institution of higher education towards SNAP work requirements.
“College students across Connecticut struggle with hunger while working towards their degrees,” Rep. Hayes said. “Higher education should be a bridge to success and financial stability, but so many students show up to class worrying where they will get their next meal. These hard-working students are immediately at a disadvantage. The OHH SNAP Act will make it easier for low-income students or students with an EFC of $0 to participate in SNAP. Year after year, I have joined my colleagues to put forward legislation to address this important issue.”
Rep. Williams said the Overcoming Higher Education Hunger Through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Act “is endorsed by several organizations including: National College Attainment Network (NCAN), Higher Learning Advocates (HLA), Center for Higher Education Policy and Practice at SNHU, uAspire, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank.”
Currently, nearly 33 percent of college students do not have enough to eat, yet only 18 percent are eligible for SNAP benefits. According to a 2018 Government Accountability Office report analyzing federal student survey data, just 31 percent of college students who meet SNAP income limits reported receiving SNAP benefits while the other 69 percent of potentially eligible students received none.