Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Eligibility

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides money for food through an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card that you can use at food stores like a debit card. In Michigan, the SNAP card is called a “Bridge Card.”

College students attending a higher education institution may be eligible to receive a SNAP card. Eligibility is based on the financial situation of all members in a household. Everyone who lives together and purchases food together is considered a member of the same household.

Recent legislature changes in the U.S. and Michigan due to the COVID-19 pandemic have expanded eligibility criteria for SNAP - now more college students are eligible for SNAP benefits. This change has the potential to aid more than 200,000 college students.

To be eligible for a SNAP card in Michigan as a college student, you must be enrolled and attending an institution of higher education at least part-time and meet the following requirements:

Michigan SNAP Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a US citizen or meet specific immigrant eligibility for international students. Look here for details. (International students admitted to the U.S. on a visa are NOT eligible).
  • Must live in Michigan.
  • Have a Social Security Number.
  • Meet at least one student “exemption” (listed below).

Student Exemptions:

  • Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year that has been indicated on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).** 
  • Be approved and/or participate in the Federal Work Study Program. Under normal conditions students had to be participating or working 20 hours per week in the Federal Work Study program. COVID-19 guidelines state that currently students only need to have been approved for Work Study in order to be eligible for SNAP benefits.**
  • Are under age 18 or are age 50 or older.
  • Have a physical or mental disability.
  • Work at least 20 hours a week in paid employment.
  • Participate in a state or federally financed work study program.
  • Participate in an on-the-job training program.
  • Care for a child under the age of 6.
  • Care for a child age 6 to 11 and lack the necessary child care enabling you to attend school and work 20 hours a week or participate in work study.
  • Are a single parent enrolled full-time in college and taking care of a child under 12.
  • Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance.
  • Are enrolled in a TANF Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program.
  • Are assigned to, placed in, or self-placed in a college or other institution of higher education through:
    • A SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program
    • Certain other Employment and Training programs for low-income households, which are operated by a state or local government and have an equivalent component to SNAP E&T
    • A program under Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) (PL 113-128)
    • A Trade Adjustment Assistance Program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974

 For any other questions regarding elibility requirements visit here for more information

**Note: This exemption is temporary and will be in effect until 30 days after the federal government lifts the official designation of the nationwide COVID-19 public health emergency.

Students may be asked to provide the following documents to verify their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Work Study eligibility (in addition to the other documents needed to verify eligibility):

  • A copy of the financial aid award letter to show that the student is eligible for work study
  • A copy of the financial aid award letter to show that the student has an Expected Financial Contribution of $0.
  • A letter from their university stating the student is eligible for work study or has an EFC $0.

Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)

Students' Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated based on the information they provided in their Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA). The college or university uses the EFC to calculate how much financial aid a student can receive. A student can check to see if they have an EFC of $0 on their financial award letter from their school or their Student Aid Report (SAR) that is emailed or mailed to them when they complete FAFSA. 

NOTE: Students living on campus in a dorm room with a dining plan or meal package are not eligible for SNAP benefits.