Food stamp program helps students save, budget expenses

Special to the Star

Food stamps are a good option for college students struggling to make ends meet.

With the cost of college-living expenses on the rise, students are taking on two or more jobs, donating blood and looking for other sources of income in order to make extra cash during their college career. In order to afford tuition, rent and food, many students are forced to balance work, school and play. For some students this may be too much to handle and many have to make sacrifices in order to maintain an acceptable standard of living.

Needing financial help is not uncommon for college students, especially when coming from a low-income background or having to deal with other unforeseen circumstances. Luckily, there are multiple resources available to the public waiting to be found and used. One of many resources is food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is an excellent alternative for students who want to avoid becoming skeletal from eating too few meals, giving too many pints of blood and working an obscene amount of hours.

SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, offers beneficial aid to help students budget, save money and maintain sanity during the school year. The program gives participants a monthly food allowance on a card, in turn allowing the cardholder to purchase any food item sold at stores like H-E-B, Wal-Mart or Target. Unused money from one month rolls over into the next. Stores that accept this form of payment will advertise the program as they do for credit cards.

The program is an easy concept to grasp and even easier to qualify and apply for. All that is required is a student must be working a minimum of 20 hours, show proof of employment and document all bills being paid for. There is nothing wrong with needing government help that is there to be used. It is a resource there for this purpose and intended to be used by those who need it. There should be no shame in needing or seeking further assistance when needed.

Of course, there are drawbacks to every situation. The average for a single person household is $200 a month, but due to budget cuts and people abusing aid, certain single households have seen allowances as low as $130 a month.

While this is not an ideal permanent living situation, it is a good temporary relief during hard times and can help release tension on student wallets. SNAP lowers the stress many students may feel at the sudden onset of adulthood and independence college brings, while also teaching them to budget their money wisely.