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Students in Higher Education

A student enrolled in an institution of higher education at least half-time may not receive SNAP benefits unless he or she meets an exemption.

What qualifies as a higher education institution?

A higher education institution includes:

If it is unclear whether a student is attending an institution of higher learning, contact the school to confirm a student’s enrollment status.

Example 1:

Gunnar enrolls in a culinary school after graduating high school. When applying for SNAP benefits, he does not know whether his school required a high school degree. What do you do?

Gunnar has enrolled in a business, technical, trade, or vocation school, so you must determine if the program in which he enrolled requires a high school degree for enrollment. Contact the school to determine his status.

Example 2:

Ellen enrolled at a vocational school after dropping out of high school. She is attending half-time when she applies for SNAP benefits. The school reports that enrollment normally requires a high school degree or its equivalent, but Ellen enrolled after passing an ability to benefit test. Is Ellen a student of higher education?

Yes, when a program that normally requires a high school degree or its equivalent to enroll allows enrollment through a special examination, the student is still a student enrolled in higher education.

Example 3:

Sabrina attends the University of Oklahoma and pursues a Bachelor of Arts in psychology degree. When she applies for SNAP, she is taking 5 credit hours. The university requires six credit hours for half-time enrollment. Is Sabrina a higher education student?

No, she is not. Sabrina has enrolled in a program at a university. This is a part of the regular curriculum, but she is not taking enough credit hours to equal half-time enrollment.

Example 4:

Curtis attends an online university and is pursuing an expedited master’s program. He is able to pursue his undergraduate and master’s degree at the same time. He has enrolled in 9 credit hours. He has 5 undergraduate credit hours and 4 graduate credit hours. The school defines half-time as six hours for Curtis’s program. Is Curtis a student of higher education when he applies in this situation?

Yes, Curtis has enrolled in the regular degree seeking curriculum. His enrollment exceeds the six hour half-time mark, so he must show he is exempt to receive SNAP assistance. Attendance online or in-person does not affect whether a student has enrolled in higher education.

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