Research Article| Volume 54, ISSUE 5, P422-431, May 2022

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Helping College Students Get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Facilitators of and Barriers to Students Accessing the Federal Nutrition Assistance Program



      To identify effective practices for assisting college students with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications and explore challenges in student SNAP enrollment.


      In-depth interviews with key informants on experiences assisting college students with SNAP applications.


      University of California campuses.


      Twenty-one key informants, including staff from the University of California on-campus Basic Needs Centers, campus financial aid offices, county agencies, and food banks.

      Phenomenon of Interest

      Facilitators and barriers of college student SNAP enrollment.


      Transcripts were coded to identify emerging themes.


      Two of the most frequently mentioned facilitators were county staff presence on campus for application assistance and a strong relationship between campus staff and the county SNAP agency. A common barrier was inconsistent student SNAP eligibility information and procedures across county offices.

      Conclusion and Implications

      Federal coordination with state agencies on student SNAP policy is much needed. This approach could help to eliminate heterogeneous interpretations of student exemptions across counties and between county staff. Future research is warranted to identify policy leverage points at the county, state, and federal levels, such as eliminating the student rule, to ensure equitable access to SNAP among college students.

      Key Words

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