DC Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


Quick Facts

District of Columbia
Administering Program Name
D.C. Department of Human Services

Are College Students Eligible for SNAP?

Students attending an institution of higher education, like a college, university, trade school, or technical school, more than half-time may be eligible for SNAP if the student meets an exemption AND meets all other SNAP eligibility requirements. You can ask your school what qualifies as “half-time.”

First, What Are Student Exemptions?

COVID-19 Temporary Update

As of January 16, 2021, a student is exempt if they meet one of the qualifications:

1) They are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work study during the regular school year. You school determines if you are eligible for work study


2.) They have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of 0 in the current academic year (based on the FASFA- Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

In addition to the temporary COVID-19 exemptions, students can always meet one of the following exemptions to qualify for SNAP:

  • Are the age of 17 or younger, or 50 or older;
  • Are physically or mentally unfit (have a disability);
  • Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits;
  • Are enrolled in a TANF Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program;
  • 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 do not have adequate child care enabling them 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; or
  • Are assigned to or placed in a college or other institution of higher education through:
    • A program under WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014);
    • A program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Adjustment Assistance Program);
  • An employment and training program under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (SNAP E&T);
  • Or an employment and training program for low-income households operated by a state or local government, so long as the program has at least one component that is equivalent to a component under SNAP E&T.

Second, What Are Income Requirements?

This chart shows the gross monthly eligibility standard based on family size considering 130% of the Federal Poverty Line, or FPL. The FPL is set by the federal government each year is calculated centered on family size and income. FPL determines eligibility for many federal and state public programs.

Household Size Gross Monthly Income
(130% of FPL)
Net Monthly Income
(100% of FPL)
1 $1,396 $1,074
2 $1,888 $1,452
3 $2,379 $1,830
4 $2,871 $2,209
5 $3,363 $2,587
6 $3,855 $2,965
7 $4,347 $3,344
8 $4,839 $3,722
Each Additional Member + $492 + $379

How Do I Apply?

You don’t need to go to an office! You can apply online, and receive your EBT card in the mail. The quickest and easiest way to apply for SNAP is online through DC Benefits Portal at or by downloading the DC First mobile app. You can also download an application from the DC Department of Human Services, Economic Security Administration (ESA) website, or go to the nearest ESA Service Center to pick up an application. (Note: Some centers are temporarily closed).

If you are eligible, you will be able to access your SNAP benefits no later than 30 days from the date the office received your application. If you have very little or no income for the month and you need help right away, you may qualify for SNAP benefits within 7 days.

Note: If you go to school in the District but live in Maryland or Virginia, you must apply in the state where you live. Please visit http://www.dhr.maryland.gov/food-supplement-program or https://commonhelp.virginia.gov/access/ to apply in your state. Eligibility rules may differ by state.

Where/How to Use

SNAP benefits can be used to buy groceries at SNAP-accepting grocery stores, corner stores, and farmers’ markets as well as online websites that accept SNAP, such as Aldi, Amazon, and Giant.

Use the map on the FreshEBT app to find grocery stores and farmers’ markets near you.

This page was last updated on October 12, 2021.

Quick Facts

District of Columbia
Administering Program Name
D.C. Department of Human Services

Outreach Organizations

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