Tennessee Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


Quick Facts

Administering Program Name
Tennessee Department of Human Services

Are College Students Eligible for SNAP?

You are eligible for SNAP if:

  • Residency: Applicants must be living in the State of Tennessee to receive SNAP benefits in the state
  • You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or
  • You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 and share a household with one of the following:
    • A person or persons age 60 and over, or
    • A person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself)

The SNAP program does not count scholarships, grants and loans used for tuition and fees, reimbursements, heating assistance, earnings of children age 17 and younger who are in school, and most loans. Countable income may include but is not limited to such things as: employment, self-employment, alimony, child support, disability benefits, Social Security/SSI, Worker’s Compensation, unemployment benefits, pensions, stipends, and interest income.

Felons convicted of certain drug-related offenses are not eligible for SNAP benefits.

Work Status

In December 2020, Congress passed legislation that temporarily changes SNAP eligibility requirements for college students. College students enrolled at least half-time and who meet income and eligibility requirements can now qualify for SNAP. If you think you might qualify for SNAP, call the Tennessee Justice Center at (877) 608-1009 to learn more.

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.

  • People may apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at their local Department of Human Services county office or apply online using the Family Assistance (FA) online application.
  • The application timeframe for a SNAP application can take up to 30 days.
  • If eligible, you will receive a Benefit Security Card or EBT Card, which allows food stamp benefits to be issued and accessed electronically.

Where/How to Use

  • As a general rule, you can use your Tennessee EBT card to buy any food items except for food that is hot when sold or food that’s sold to be eaten in the store, like restaurant food.
  • You can use your EBT card to purchase food at any grocery store or farmers’ market that accepts SNAP. Use the map on the FreshEBT app to find grocery stores and farmers markets near you.
  • Benefits can be used online at Amazon and Walmart. Recipients seeking to order from Walmart should check with their local stores about online SNAP availability. Benefits cannot be used to pay for delivery or service fees. Be sure to confirm an online store delivers to your home address before ordering.

This page was last updated on February 27, 2021.