College Students Collecting Food Stamps?

College Students Collecting Food Stamps


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?

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About Ashley

Ashley is very happily married and the mother to a beautiful little girl, and she is the main voice behind Embracing Beauty.


  1. I have a soon t o be college student. She will be living at home, going to community college and have a job. No need for food stamps.

  2. My oldest is in college, lives in an off campus apartment and does not work, but I can’t even imagine her getting food stamps. Very interesting info!!

  3. Quickly I will say

    we need to crack down on the Fraudulent Usage SOMEHOW and then help ANY who Need it.
    Sure, Collage kids don’t live off much (food), however, if their family struggled to Get them Into College or they have a scholarship of some sort & it doesn’t include food – They Need To Eat, Too, what’s a couple of bucks a month!

    We have a big enough Hunger Issue here in America!

    ooooohhhh, dont get me started, I gotta go! LOL

  4. The Rebel Chick Jenn says

    I honestly don’t see being in college as a financial hardship…but then again, there are a lot of people in the system who really shouldn’t be.

  5. 2Wired2Tired says

    I worked while I was in college to pay for things. So I’m not very happy to hear about other students taking the easy way out.

  6. Beeb Ashcroft says

    Of course, any instances of fraud should be investigated and dealt with. However, the cost of attending college has gradually risen 1,120% over the last 30 years so I am not surprised to hear of an increase in students needing food stamps.

    • Wow that is a shocking statistic… however I am wondering if this figure is adjusted for inflation or not? Perhaps as wages rose so did the cost of education? So maybe the increase is not as sharp as it might seem? What about other options though? Like taking 5 years to finish a degree so you can take on part time jobs? Or doing the degree in 3 years by going to school in summer/winter sessions or online – in this way students would be in the workforce sooner? Well, I suppose this problem will never really be fixed. 🙁

      • The trouble with the rise of the cost of college is that it is increasingly much more rapidly than inflation. Beeb’s statistic is right on the money.

  7. I agree with Tesa. I worked to pay my way and buy my groceries. Nothing wrong with a little hard work!

  8. Mellisa Swigart says

    This is a touchy subject. I worked very hard in College as a newly wed and we had to pinch pennies but we made it work on our food stamps, assistance, etc. We worked our butts off and it made me really appreciate the things that I have now. I think too many people try to take the easy way out.

  9. ooh. very touchy subject. But I lean towards the opinion that college students do not / should not collect food stamps. How did the rest of us in years gone by manage to pay for college (and food) on our own??? Most college students are young, single and able-bodied enough to work a couple jobs and go to school (um, like I had to!?!). I think welfare assistance should be first for the truly handicapped, then for single parents, then the unemployed who are actively seeking work. But college students? that just rubs me the wrong way in this economy.

  10. It is not very easy for a college student to get food stamps!!! They must be enrolled full time and meet 1 of several categories: Working 20 plus hrs weekly (on top of that full school load), have a child under the age of 6/12 depending on circumstance, participating in a work study, etc. The real FACT is we deny MOST college students that apply. These kids are working hard and loans are costly to pay back. Give me a break….

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