Salt Lake Community College students who receive financial aid may also qualify for food stamps. And while many of these students are bound by a strict living budget, they have to use their own money to buy food on campus.
The food stamp program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is not currently accepted at Salt Lake Community College.
According to food services director Kevin Doney, “food stamps could only be used at grocery stores and places like that, not for ready-to-eat foods.”
Although his statement is accurate, it does not tell the whole story.
SNAP benefits cannot be used for ready-made meals such as pizza, sandwiches, and other hot foods made on campus. Other food items such as string cheese, fruits, protein bars, nuts, chips, candy, juices and water can be purchased with food stamps at stores that accept SNAP benefits.
The term “starving student” isn’t just a random term.
Many students, bound by a strict living budget, live on items such as Top Ramen and other cheap meals just to get by.
There is a rising trend in the number of students applying for SNAP benefits.
In a 2013 article for USA Today, Monica Vendituoli states that “In 2001, 5.4% of students enrolled in school ages 19 to 24 received SNAP, whereas in 2010, 12.6% of students in the same age group were SNAP recipients.”
Students who are part of the SNAP program are using the money they have budgeted for non-food items to purchase food while they are on campus.
“I feel this resource should be available to students, and that if I qualified for food stamps, I would appreciate the benefit of being able to use this resource while on campus,” says SLCC student Marisol Orona.
While food stamps are not accepted at SLCC campuses, the Social Work Association manages a food pantry to help students in need.