WAG 03-04-03-b: Eligible Students of Higher Education

PM 03-04-03-b

Follow the steps below to determine if a student meets the special student eligibility requirements:

STEP 1: Is student enrolled in a school of higher education halftime or more? PM 03-04-03-a "Definition of Student of Higher Education." If yes, go to Step 2.
If no, the person's status as a student does not affect their eligibility for SNAP. Determine eligibility using their income/assets and include them in the SNAP unit.
STEP 2: Does the student meet one of the special student eligibility requirements? PM 03-04-03-b "Eligible Students of Higher Education." If yes, the person's status as a student does not affect their eligibility for SNAP. Determine eligibility using their income/assets and include them in the SNAP unit.
If no, the student is a non-SNAP unit member PM 04-05-06 "Non-SNAP Unit Members."  Do not include them in the SNAP unit and do not count their income/assets. PM 05-04-01 "Income and Assets."

The following information further clarifies the special student eligibility requirements:

Work in a Paid Job

  • The student must work in a paid job an average of 20 hours per week. If self-employed, work an average of 20 hours per week and receive weekly earnings at least equal to the federal minimum wage multiplied by 20 hours (see WAG 25-06-08);
    • Example: Ms. S works 10 hours the first week in February. The following week she works 30 hours. The third week, Ms. S is only able to work 15 hours. She then works 25 hours the last week of the month. Ms. S meets the student eligibility requirement of working an average of 20 hours per week.

Approved for Work Study and Anticipates Working

  • The student must be approved to participate in a state or federal work-study program at the time he/she applies for SNAP benefits and the work study must be approved for the school term and the student must anticipate actually working during that time;
    • Example 1: Mr. B, a full-time student at a local college, applied for SNAP 01/10/21. He has been approved to work in a state work-study program that will begin January 21st per his statement. Mr. B meets the special student eligibility requirements for the school term. No special verification is required.
    • Example 2: Ms. Q, a full-time student, takes internet courses from DuPage College. She is approved for a federal work-study program, but the school has no slots available. She does not meet the special student eligibility requirements.

Eligible to Participate in Work Study

  • new manual textA student who does not meet the existing work study exemption above can still qualify for SNAP if eligible to participate in a state or federal work study program (as determined and verified by the school) at the time he/she applies for SNAP benefits.
    • Exempt students under the existing student work study exemption who are meeting the requirement by working in a state or federal work study program or who are anticipating working during the school year because there are jobs available.
    • Allow the new temporary work study exemption to students who are eligible to participate in a state or federal work study program but are not anticipating working because they have not secured a job. No special verification is needed, unless the student's statement is questionable.
    • Documentation in Case Comments is important. Use the current exemption in IES, enrolled in a work study program or works more than 20 hours per week, for the temporary exemption. In Case Comments, document the work study exemption that the student was allowed, whichever is applicable.
      • Example: Ms. J states she is eligible to participate in a state or federal work study program. There are no jobs available. The HSC determines Ms. J meets all other eligibility requirements for SNAP. The HSC completes the Education Detail Screen in IES and documents in Case Comments that Ms. J met the new temporary work study exemption for SNAP.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

  • new manual textThe student has an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current school year. The EFC is an index number that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid a person qualifies for at their school. In the 2020-2021 award year, the maximum Pell grants are:
      • $3,172 per semester for students enrolled full-time.
      • $2,379 per semester for students enrolled three-quarter-time.
      • $1,586 per semester for students enrolled half-time.
  • new manual textVerification of the Pell grant amount may be found on the financial aid award letter and may be used as verification that a student has an EFC of $0, if questionable. The EFC of $0 must be for the current academic year, as defined by the institution of higher education, in which the individual is enrolled. Request verification if the student's statement is questionable.
  • Example 1: Ms. O is a full-time college student. Her financial aid award letter shows that she received a Pell grant $3,172. Ms. O meets the $0 EFC student exemption.The HSC determines Ms. J meets all other eligibility requirements for SNAP. The HSC completes the Education Detail Screen in IES and documents in Case Comments that Ms. 0 meets the $0 EFC exemption for SNAP.
  • Example 2: Ms. Z is a full-time student at Morrison University. She did not receive a Pell grant but was awarded a full 4-year volleyball scholarship. Ms. Z has a copy of her financial aid award letter at the interview which shows that she has a $0 contribution from her parents. Ms. Z meets the $0 EFC student exemption.The HSC determines Ms. J meets all other eligibility requirements for SNAP. The HSC completes the Education Detail Screen in IES and documents in Case Comments that Ms. Z meets $0 EFC exemption for SNAP. No special verification is needed unless the student's statement is questionable.

new manual textIES Work Around for Temporary Exemptions

Use the current exemption in IES, enrolled in a work study program or works more than 20 hours per week, for students who meet the new temporary work study exemption or the new $0  Expected Family Contribution (EFC) exemption. In Case Comments, document the work study exemption that the student was allowed, whichever is applicable.

IES Screens IES Questions Action Verification
Complete Gatepost Question Is there a SNAP unit member (age 18-49 potentially subject to the SNAP Work Requirements? Answer YES
Complete SNAP Work Requirements - Details Screen Is individual fit to work or fit to participate in Employment & Training activities at least 20 hours per week? Answer YES.
Individual has met the work requirement Answer NO.
Complete the Education Detail Page Highest Level of Education Completed

In the drop down select:

Some College, Not Graduated

Select Verification Source
Enrollment Status In the drop down, select the appropriate status (full or part-time),

H.S. diploma required?

Leave Blank

Type of Educational Institution In the drop down, select the appropriate institution.
School Name Enter the appropriate Name
Enrolled in a Training Program Answer NO
Enrolled in a work study program or works more than 20 hours per week. Answer YES
Individual education plan approved? Answer Unknown
Will the curriculum lead to a high school diploma or GED? Leave Blank
Able to work? Answer YES
Childcare available? Answer NO

Responsible for Care of a Child

  • Responsible for the care of a unit member under age 6 (only one adult may claim this exemption).

    When there is more than one adult in the home, the student must provide the majority of child care to meet this requirement.

    • Example: Mr. W is a full-time student attending college. Mrs. W is unemployed and is at home during the day with their year-old daughter. Since Mrs. W provides the majority of childcare, Mr. W does not meet the requirement and is considered an ineligible student.

Career and Technical Program

  • Perkins Career and Technical Education Program
      • Determine if the student is attending the community college at least half-time, and
      • is pursuing a career or technical education program under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act that will lead to employment. Verification may be requested from the community college if the student does not have proof of their enrollment in a career and technical education program.
    • Example 1: Mr. G lives alone and is applying for SNAP. During the interview, Mr. G states he is a full-time student enrolled in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration certificate program at Lincoln Land Community College. This is a career and technical education program that is supported in part by the Perkins Act. Mr. G provides his enrollment documentation. Upon completion of the coursework Mr. G will be eligible for certification to enter into the workforce. Mr. G is eligible to participate in SNAP if all other eligibility requirements are met.

The following 2 criteria require special verification:

  • Physical or mental impairment

    If physical or mental impairment is not evident, ask the person to provide a physician's statement verifying the condition, or proof of the receipt of permanent or temporary disability benefits. 

  • Lack of adequate childcare for unit member age 6 - 11 (see PM 03-04-03-b).

    Determine if there is a lack of adequate childcare based on information provided by the unit. If the client claims that an adult living in the home is incapacitated and cannot provide care, ask for written proof of the incapacity.

    • Example 1: The SNAP unit consists of Mr. J, his 21 year-old son T, and 8 year-old daughter K. Mr. J is a half-time student. He states he is unable to work because he is responsible for the care of his daughter. His son receives Social Security disability. Do not consider T as available in the home to provide childcare. Mr. J meets the requirement.
    • The requirement may also be allowed when another adult in the home is not incapacitated, but is not available to provide the care.
    • Example 2: Mrs. D, her spouse and their 7 year-old daughter are applying for SNAP. Mrs. D is a full-time student and attends classes during the day. Her spouse is employed full-time and attends classes 3 nights a week. Ms. D cannot go to school and meet the requirement of working an average of 20 hours per week because childcare is not available in the home. Exempt Mrs. D for "responsible for the care of a dependent unit member age 6 through 11" since childcare is not adequate to allow her to meet both requirements.