To help financially insecure students, Oregon State University recently began accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits at its campus grocery store, according to an Inside Higher Ed article. While a growing number of college-aged students in the U.S. are enrolled in SNAP, few universities accept the benefits.
For institutions to enroll in the aid program, they must meet federal standards that mandate a certain amount of fresh food be sold and require a specific payment infrastructure be in place. Most universities that have attempted to accept benefits have fallen short on these criteria.
“While we don’t have a good sense of SNAP participation yet, we know this is an issue, based on our food pantry numbers,” said Tara Sanders, university housing and dining services nutritionist at Oregon State.