I’ve always heard that you should, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college student.” Everyone knows that college students barely make it by living on ramen noodles and easy mac, and sitting on ikea furniture (although there is nothing wrong with that!). As a society we’ve offered them special discounts but we’ve never considered that group that group “in need.” After all, they’re the ones choosing to temporarily sacrifice for the pursuit of a higher education, right? Maybe not.
This year we’ve seen a startling rise in the number of college students on food stamps or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) as it’s now called. Sydney Phillips , a student of The College Conservative, even blogged about how she got food stamps and you can too. She says,
“Welfare in America was intended to provide a temporary means of survival for those at rock bottom. However, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people using food stamps over the past 40 years, and it would be hard to argue that they are all that destitute. Over that same time period, an estimated $753 million per year has been spent fraudulently by welfare recipients. Moreover, the government’s own accounting has cost taxpayers billions of dollars per year as food stamp programs routinely overpay their recipients; last year, that figure alone totaled $2.5 billion.”
Although she admits that there is fraudulence in the system she attests that there is a need for students on food stamps. “The students I know who use food stamps are hard-working, productive individuals whose parents won’t compensate them for the costs of college,” she said in the post. “By using the program, students are able to save hundreds of dollars on food so they can pay for school instead of taking out an extra loan. I’m not discrediting that logic; I totally sympathize.”
Many people have strong opinions on the topic of federal assistance and with the news that college students are among the rising number of Americans relying on this assistance, some are outraged. The thought is that students might abuse the program as a way to save money and not because of an actual need. I suspect we’ll see states cracking down and limiting eligibility requirements or strengthening their method of verification.
What do you think about the enormous rise in college students using food stamps? Are people just trying to get by or do you think many are taking advantage of the system?