Are you a college student struggling to afford food?

College students may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, previously known as "food stamps," is a U.S. government program that helps people with limited income purchase food. SNAP benefits are provided through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Card that you can use like a debit card. In Michigan, the SNAP EBT card is called a “Bridge Card.”

SNAP benefit amounts are evaluated yearly and are based on household size. Starting October 2021, a single-family household that meets eligibility criteria can receive a maximum of $250 a month in benefits. 

Below are examples of food you can buy with SNAP benefits.

What you CAN buy with a SNAP Bridge Card:

  • Fruit and Vegetables 
  • Meat, poultry, and fish 
  • Dairy products 
  • Breads and cereals 
  • Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages 
  • Seeds and plants to grow foods

What you CANNOT buy with a SNAP Bridge Card:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements. If an item has a Supplement Facts label, it is considered a supplement and is not eligible for SNAP purchase.
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store).
  • Foods that are hot at the point of sale
  • Any nonfood items such as:
    - Pet foods 
    - Cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies.
    - Hygiene items, cosmetics
  • Fast food or takeout
  • Dining hall or cafeteria meal plans                                                                                                                                                             

Where can you use a SNAP Bridge Card

Use the online database to locate stores where SNAP EBT cards are accepted. Many students are eligible for SNAP but not all.  If you are not eligible for SNAP but need resources to help with food, check out the resource page for information to find food assistance at MSU and in the East Lansing area.


SNAP eligibility

To find out about eligibility for SNAP, click here.