Hard-Up College Students Turning To Food Stamps

Being in college and having an empty wallet tend to go hand-in-hand. A full course load can make it difficult for students to find steady work, and in many college towns the work that’s available isn’t going to pay for very much. But while my fellow students were undergoing (legal) drug trials and donating whatever bodily fluid they could get a few cents for, some in the current generation of cash-strapped collegians are turning to food stamps.

Actually called, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), food stamps have long been a stable in lower-income communities where people use them to buy groceries.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, which administers the program, announced that a record 45.8 million Americans had used food stamps. And according to the deputy director of legislative affairs and communications for the Georgia Department of Human Services, a growing number of students have been enrolling in SNAP.

“If (an applicant) is working at least 20 hours per week and meets income limits, they can qualify … and college students are eligible,” she tells CBS Atlanta. “And there has been a significant increase of use in the program over recent years.”

CBS gives the example of Georgia State University, where a basic meal plan can run a student around $1,700.

“I honestly got tired of paying that amount of money per semester just to eat,” says a Georgia State student. “I did not even know that I was applicable for food stamps until someone told me about the site and to apply to see if I would get it… Since then, I have saved a ton of money.”

Food stamps have come under scrutiny in recent years, with the fast food industry pushing for SNAP funds to be used at their eateries (currently only available in a handful of states). Additionally, some loopholes — like the one that allows Oregon SNAP members to use funds to buy Starbucks coffee so long as it’s a Starbucks in a grocery store — have fueled opponents of the program.

Cash-Strapped Georgia College Students Turning To Food Stamps [CBS Local]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hi_Hello says:

    why didn’t I think of that!!

  2. areaman says:

    In the states that allow food stamps to be used at fast food places:

    I see Taco Bell sales and salmonella cases going up.

    • DariusC says:

      The military is planning to allow (and some bases apparently do currently) lower-ranked members to use the on-base McDonalds/BK/Taco Bell for their meals rather than the chow hall. Before people start complaining about health food, the chow hall (in all branches) serves both unhealthy and healthy food like every fast food restaurant out there. If the soldiers fatten up, it’s because they grabbed the burgers and fries over the salad (and salad bar commonly at dining facilities). Same concept with the food stamps, buy healthy food and you won’t get fat/unhealthy or exercise and eat what you want. In any event, it’s your repsonsibility to make sure you are eating at a sustainable level. Caveat: I’m ex military and a college student, though I haven’t been hard up to use SNAP since my unemployment. SNAP is a great deal though, they give you quite a bit for food stipend much like the military BAS.

  3. Cat says:

    food stamps have long been a stable?

  4. Tim says:

    Food stamps should only be given to the people I want them to be given to. And those people can only use them for the things that I want them to use them for.


    • Cat says:

      I agree. But without the /s tag.

    • PunditGuy says:

      Limiting the choices would allow the same amount of total money to help more people.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      I agree. People should be able to buy alcohol and smokes with food stamps because those things make people healthy and employable. Oh, and hookers too.

      But if we’re going to do that then let’s pass laws so people can’t buy trans-fats, HFCS and other truly dangerous substances.

  5. Cat says:

    “I did not even know that I was applicable for food stamps…”

    This are a college student spokening. God help us.

  6. hewhoroams says:

    I did this in college about 10 years ago. Best decision ever. I was working 30-40 hours at basically minimum wage and this really helped me out.

  7. speaky2k says:

    When I was going to college I would have never thought about doing this. But then again I lived on campus and was on a meal plan and all that was tied to my student loans so I never saw the out of pocket expense until I graduated. Also I am not sure that I worked 20hrs per week while in school, you know that studying (of liquid refreshment, the opposite sex, and text books) thing filled a lot of my time. The jobs I did in college were minimum wage jobs and they paid for my gas and non school food, drink, and entertainment, and that’s about it. The summer jobs always paid for the car bills (repairs, inspections, insurance, etc) and other necessities. But that always meant that at the end of the school year I was just scraping by and had to get another job again for the Summer.

    • VintageLydia says:

      Generally they count your school time as work. 1 credit hour=3 hours because of homework, papers, etc.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Time in school does not count as work for SNAP qualification purposes. In some states, attending school more than half-time disqualifies you from receiving any food stamp benefits, because the argument goes that you could be using that time for remunerative employment and therefore might not need the benefits.

        • frugalmom says:

          This. We get food stamps currently and we do not get an allotment for my husband because he’s a full-time student.

  8. RandomHookup says:

    This was true back in the 70s when my mother worked as the regional state welfare director. She said you had to be an independent student (at least at that time), rather than supported by your parents.

    • Belle says:

      I always assumed I did not qualify. I was always listed as a dependent. Though I probably could have applied for them when I got married. I had 1 quarter left a college and my husband had work but he didn’t earn very much.

    • who? says:

      This is still the case. If you’re getting parental support, you’re not getting food stamps.

  9. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    *stunned* Wow, talk about entitlement. How about getting a job and going back to college when you can afford it? Can’t afford food? YOU CAN’T AFFORD COLLEGE and apparently you are too stupid to be in college since you can’t figure that out. There is no rational defense for entitlement programs anymore. It is this type of stuff that make me puke up in the back of my throat and prevents me from being a “liberal”.

    So everyone who wants to study “music theory” will get subsidized loans for a profession the U.S doesn’t need (STEM’s are in demand, music and English majors? Not so much.) Then they get food stamps…Why work? When you can thieve and steal from working people.

    Newsflash: I too spend at least $1,700 per person in our house for a “meal plan” (food). That is called being an adult – (you know supporting yourself) and not being a child (requiring the support of others for basic needs to survive.)

    • crispyduck13 says:

      “”If (an applicant) is working at least 20 hours per week and meets income limits, they can qualify…”

      What was your point again?

      • jessjj347 says:

        Exactly. I’m not sure why people think that you get a free “hand out” on programs like this. There are working requirements for most programs including SNAP (food stamps).

        • crispyduck13 says:

          They also forget that college educated people typically make better salaries than high school only grads, and therefore will put more tax money back into the system when they get a job.

          • Coffee says:

            Seriously…the original post in this thread is ridiculous on many levels.

            • Kate says:

              And apparently not so interested in defending an undefensible view. I hate these post and run jobs – post all kinds of inaccurate illogical points and then run away before they learn something

    • Hi_Hello says:

      $1,700 per person per month??

      • who? says:

        Semester, I’d assume.

      • Cat says:

        Wow, I don’t spend half that in a month for a family of 4.

        Would you pass the Lobster Thermidor and Truffle Patties, please?

        • Nic715 says:

          Yea, my food budget is a whopping $30 a week..sometimes $40 if I’m lucky, and that’s just for me. I can’t even imagine spending over $1000 a month on food! Incould technically afford a higher food budget , but as I mentioned above, I’ve been saving weekly for a few years to pay for going back to school and to have money to live off of while doing it. I’d mug rather be stingy with my food budget now than have to go without later down the line because I wanted to spend more money on food now.

      • smbizowner says:


        $1700 for his meal plan most likely living in a college dorm. Usually that is a semester or what 3-4 months.

        • Hi_Hello says:

          I was referring the the comment:
          Newsflash: I too spend at least $1,700 per person in our house for a “meal plan” (food)

          I know semester are a few month. I’m trying to understand base on her quotes and parenthesis, if she spend $1,700 per person per month…

          • caradrake says:

            We spend between $300-$400 a month on a family of four, so a ‘semester’ of food would cost us $900-$1600 depending on if it is three or four months. So the $1,700 meal plan cost seems outrageously high for just one person.

            Our grocery bill also includes TP, paper towels, dish soap, etc. Not sure if a dorm-living student would have those costs, or at least to the same extent.

            • Hi_Hello says:

              hmm I need to reevaluate my food money. That’s about 100 bucks a person a month in your family… mines around there but it doesn’t include the non-food stuff like TP and soap.

              I”m still working on planning out my food for the whole week… maybe I should start thinking about the whole month.

    • Cat says:

      I’m stunned myself. At your lack of forethought.

      RTFA: “If (an applicant) is working at least 20 hours per week and meets income limits, they can qualify ..”

      They are working.

      So, you want them to drop out and get a minimum wage job where they’ll be qualified for food stamps, too? Ahh, yes, they can always go back to school after they save enough money working at McDonalds for…. um, no they won’t ever earn enough. Most people who leave college never go back. Then they wind up working crappy jobs for the rest of their lives, raising families on those wages and… yes, getting food stamps. And probably State provided health care, too.

      You also ignore the fact that while the cost of college has skyrocketed, Financial Aid has been stagnant for decades.

      Look, you can pay a little now, or a lot later. Pretty much any job that doesn’t make you a ward of the state requires a college education. Not that any of this is right, but that’s the way that Education, inc, Corporate America, and the US government have made it.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        Where does an individual get the money to pay for college? If it’s from personal assets ie money does that person or could that person pass an asset test that many full fledged adults have to pass to get many kinds of financial aid including food stamps. And if from a private scholarshop should that be taxed or considered income. To me if a college student already got their tution paid that is all the subsidization they should need. Can’t have your cake and eat it to(pun intended).

        • Cat says:

          Scholarships rarely pay for full tuition, let alone books and food. With a full – time schedule, you’d be lucky to get a part time job at minimum wage. That isn’t going to cover it all. Sure, there’s ALWAYS loans, but that doesn’t cover everything, and getting in debt for the rest of your life doesn’t make sense.

          When did you attend college? 1980? Things are a LOT different today.

        • glasswright says:

          Actually, Scholarships ARE taxed, at the exact same rate as normal income too. and they don’t get most tax deductions or credits, so they probably end up being taxed at a higher rate.

    • Coffee says:

      Self-righteously outrage much?

      1. With our economy the way it is, getting a job and postponing going to college until you have the money is a great way to end up stuck at that same job with little room for upward mobility. So how does one ever get the better paying job that will help one afford college if a college degree is required for that job?

      2. Are you happy living in a country where the only people who are entitled to a post-secondary education are the ones who can afford to pay for college? Because if you are, that pretty much excludes everyone. Student loans exist for a reason – to enable people to go to college and learn things that will help them succeed in the work place. You take away that mechanism and you’re looking at a country that’s more economically and educationally stratified than ever.

      3. Would you rather your tax dollars helped pay for food for someone who is unemployed and raising children, or would you rather it went to poor college students? You seem very happy to attack individuals who are “thieving and stealing from working people”, so I would think you’d rather they went to college student, who is more likely to get a better paying job in the future and repay the money in the form of taxes, no?

      • Cat says:

        Thank you, Honey Badger.

        You know, we are both pretty snarky and sarcastic here, and me especially, I can be pretty rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. But I’d also like to think I squeeze out enough golden nuggets into my litter box to justify my continued existence here.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        If college tuition is the problem then deal with excessively high tuition costs head on. But putting college kids on food stamps setting them up for a government sponsored socialist addiction/agenda is negligent if not stupid.

        No one is entitled to a college education or upward mobility. That’s why it’s called the American DREAM.

        And saying and/or comparing college kids to welfare moms with kids-uh???

        • little stripes says:

          “welfare moms”

          Your bias is quite evident.

          Also, the American Dream also includes giving EVERYONE equal opportunity to reach those dreams.

          The well off should NOT be the only ones able to get a good education. That’s called inequality and is against everything we as a country stand for.

          • u1itn0w2day says:

            Wrong Answer.

            If you had read the previous post the individual was implying would you rather pay for welfare parents or college students.

            It is you that took offense to the ‘welfare mom’. It is you who are trying to spin because I didn’t use politically correct wording with in a specific topic. But if there a parent or parents on welfare that’s what they are for the sake of this argument/thread/post and others for that matter.

            • Coffee says:

              I was responding to the original post, which was ranting about people receiving entitlements “thieving and stealing” from the working people. I was just pointing out that if we’re going to have that attitude about people on entitlements, then at least the person going to college is putting themselves in a position to repay some of that public assistance, whereas, unfortunately someone who does not work and is trying to raise children alone is less likely to.

              I was not, however, expressing my personal opinion on the matter. I believe that everyone who qualifies for food stamps deserves to receive them, and I am NOT going to hold it against someone for trying to attend college and eventually get a competitive job. When you selectively withhold assistance like that, you implicitly encourage people not to go to college through the threat of punishment (the withholding of food stamps), and that’s just a really fucked up way to keep people down.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          You act like this is a new thing, it is not. If you are an independent tax payer that makes little enough money that you qualify for food stamps is it suddenly unethical to accept them because you are also a full time college student? If so – why?

        • Cat says:

          If college tuition is the problem then deal with excessively high tuition costs head on.

          Excuse me, have you been paying attention to the way the higher education system works?

          Sure, write our congressman, see if that helps. We’ve all seen how fast congress works on important matters. Maybe they’ll fix it, in 20 years, or however long it takes to elect an effective congress.

          In the meantime, you deal with the world the way it is, using the tools that are available. When I went to college, Financial Aid paid enough for me to go to school and eat. (not very well, mind you). Guess who paid my Pell Grants? Yes, the government, the same government that doles out the food stamps. It’s coming from the same pot. Is it college student’s fault that Financial Aid has not kept up with the cost of education? No, it’s not.

          Like I said below, pay a little now or a lot later. Lack of foresight is why our country is where it is today.

          • u1itn0w2day says:

            Fighting college tuition cost isn’t just a matter of writing your congressman. You have to make business decisions when dealing with the college industry. Since they treat it as a business so should you. That means if the costs are too high you don’t go there or go somewhere else-capitalist 101. Nor do you, parent or tax payers have investments in these gouge me student loan companies. Nor do you vote for politicians that blindly throw money at the college industry, give take & regulatory breaks to businesses that loan to college students.

            As long as the college industry gets paid by someone who had someone else pay for it the costs will never come under control. I don’t care wether you are talking grants, scholarships or loans it does nothing but throw money at the institutions asking for it. Like a screaming kid they get what they want because we let them.

            Deal with THE costs and not HOW you are going to scarf up money to pay the corner gangster.

            • little stripes says:

              “That means if the costs are too high you don’t go there or go somewhere else-capitalist 101.”

              So, if your only option is to go in-state, but it is too expensive because costs have gone up so much, how do you expect them to afford to go * somewhere else* when out-of-state tuition is even more expensive? Also, not everyone can afford to just up and move. Your logic is hugely faulty.

              NONE of your suggestions are going to help an individual who is concerned about their future.

              Your only real suggestion is just to not go. Which is not a fair suggestion. Because then only the well off will get an education. And that’s not the ideals that our country was founded on!

              • u1itn0w2day says:

                Not to go is definately an alternative. Even if a temporary conditon not going to college or many other things in life is valid choice. It’s called a hard but necessary choice.

                First you are ASSuming that ‘college’ or only college students are concerned about the future or are the only ones that can fix it. And if you are that concerned about your future that means you have to fix,stabilize and/or deal with the present. A cookie cutter college 4 year college education when you are younger is not reality. Heck , a 4 year campus life college education isn’t a reality for most at any age. Or is it the best thing.

                The college industry has pumped out plenty of college graduates over the centuries and the country’s problems are far from fixed. As a matter of fact alot of the political and corporate leadership of recent times has had their education paid for with college life handed to them on a silver platter. And they only thing they seem to be able to do is pander for more money.

                • Cat says:

                  Not to go is definitely NOT an alternative. 20 years ago, I would have agreed with you.

                  Have you looked into what jobs are available for a high school graduate? Businesses are requiring a degree for jobs that do not require a degree, just because they CAN require a degree. I see this DAILY at my place of employment as experienced and intelligent long time employees are pushed out the door by new (and clueless) management to be replaced by totally clueless bastards with a degree – for considerably more pay.

                  • shadowboxer524 says:

                    Agreed. What it means, though, is that with nearly EVERYONE going to college nowadays, it means that education beyond the bachelor’s is becoming more necessary to help give very qualified students an edge in the job market. Or those very qualified students have to go to schools with great reputations to begin with (which usually means they are very expensive).

                    Also, regarding taking time off before starting school, many schools only offer scholarships to students who are coming directly out of high school. If you take a year off after high school, you don’t qualify for those scholarships. So then you end up having to pay more.

                    And anyone who thinks you can “save up” to go to college has no grip on the reality of the situation. It’s simply too expensive and the jobs for people with only a high school diploma do not pay enough for someone to put back enough while also paying for food and rent.

                    • u1itn0w2day says:

                      You might not be able to save up for college per say but you can save for rent,food and clothes. You can also supplement the tuition bills with YOUR income what ever it may be. You can also save to take some basic courses at community college or one or two courses a year at YOUR school of PERSONAL CHOICE.

            • Cat says:

              What are these “other schools” of which you speak? Community colleges? Yea, that used to work. But not anymore – they have high tuition now too. And don’t forget the cost of books.

              Look, nobody knows better than me how to cut costs and get the same or better for less. But the system is broken, it’s not going to get fixed by anyone in my lifetime, and I don’t begrudge anyone the reasonable cost of eating so they can better themselves and NOT be a burden on society going forward.

              • BrienBear Thinks Stupidity Defies Logic says:

                Is it just me or is arguing with these morons like bashing your head against a wall? They’ll never get it through their dense skulls….

              • Nic715 says:

                You’re definitely right about community colleges being more expensive now…I’m taking one class this semester, and with the required text books and lab notes, plus the special calculator and the access code we had to purchase for $100 to be able to login to the website where our homework assignments that are worth 50% of our grade are…I’ve paid over $1200 for ONE stinking class! I’m lucky I’m still able to work full time through the summer semester, but come fall I only have 2 classes but being a nursing student, it’s required that we spent a certain amount of hours in clinicals each semester. Just for one class-which is a 5 credit class-I will have to be in clinical 16 hours per week, lab for 6 hours and in the classroom for 3. So for one class alone I’m looking at 25 hours a week of dedicated class time. And they say to expect about 3 hours a week of home work/studying for every credit hour…so there’s 15 more hours. Plus I’ll need and additional 3 hours class and 3 hours lab for A&P 2. So there’s another 18 hours with homework etc. That’s considered ‘part time’ in nursing school and with tuition, fees, books, scrub and other supplies, I’m looking at a hefty bill…and not a ton of free time to work. Granted, I already have a bachelors degree and have been saving money while working full time for the last few years and probably won’t have to rely on food stamps to eat, I can see why other people do. Especially if they have kiss…which I do not.

              • u1itn0w2day says:

                College is not an entitlement. A ‘career’ is not an entitlement. College is not the only place you can learn. Until you can afford to deal with tuition costs directly you get & accept what ever education YOU can actually afford. If that means community college or taking a course or two a year you do it. If that means going to a cheaper trade or vocational school to get a job so you can support yourself at a higher income level you do it.

                But the college or career of YOUR PERSONAL CHOICE is NOT an entitlement.

        • graytotoro says:

          Addicted to a socialist agenda? So why the hell am I even going FOR this engineering degree, what with the 4 A.M. nights and whatnot.

          Oh man, just wait until I get my welfare check. I am so going to buy LOBSTERS! STEAK! PATE DE FOIE GRAS! IT’LL BE LIKE DIAMOND JIM BRADY’S BREAKFAST. I get SO MUCH MONEY!!!!


      • Mrs. w/1 child says:

        1) Life isn’t fair. For some us it takes a lot more fuel to escape gravity. Community college is very inexpensive (you can afford it working at McDonalds) and a good way to start to work your way out of a dead end job. It will take a lot more sacrifice and struggle to be able to get that degree and it will take more than four years. No one is entitled to a tax payer subsidized college education. Everyone gets tax payer funded education through high school (where many graduate without being literate but that is another argument for another post).

        2) No. However there is a strong argument to be made that government subsidy’s have caused increases in the the cost of a college education and decreased affordability. There is also a large difference between a degree in Art Studies and Engineering. When the government (taxpayers) are forced to subsidize any and all education you end up with inflated costs and higher education scams (such as online university’s).

        3) The difference between an unemployed parent (or unemployed anybody – single, married, childless, etc.) and a college student is the student is limiting their ability to work. They feel like they deserve free food because they are enriching all of the rest of us at some future date so by extension we owe it to them. They may get a better job and pay more taxes in the future, but there is also a chance that they will not make anymore than they did before college. How many college grads so you know who are working at jobs that really don’t pay much? I will concede there are geographical differences depending on the job market but around here everyone has a degree (and most huge huge debt in the form of student loans). The admin at Hubby’s work has a Masters in Education. She answers phones for $10 an hour.

        There is supposed to be a safety net – and that metaphor is apt. A net to catch you if you are balancing the tightrope of life and begin to falter, a net to catch you if you fall but I expect you to try correct your balance and if that fails try to grab the rope with your hands as you fall. Not to flip off the audience, and jump from the safety of the platform while mooning everyone else on the way to hitting the net. Accepting welfare while you rack up voluntary debt and actively limit your employment is like walking the tightrope and deciding to do it on one foot, while balancing a set of dinner dishes. If you choose to complicate your life, why should I be forced to pay for your additional safety net?

        Food stamps are there to make sure you have food (don’t break your neck when you fall) not there to make you comfortable and middle class (provide a wide plank to walk on as opposed to a tightrope) at the expense of others. Welfare is taking money you didn’t work for from people who did work for it. There is nothing wrong with charity, but there is something wrong with taking charity when you don’t actually truly need it.

        For the record, I personally don’t believe government(s) should not be involved in charity. What doesn’t get stolen in graft and patronage jobs gets squandered by fraud. Only the smallest trickle ends up getting to poor people. Well, poor people and voluntarily poor college students.

        • Kate says:

          You know little about government help then. I’ve been involved in it and yes, there can be fraud – mostly by contracted companies then anything else, but overall, it works extremely well. Government supplies vastly more than charity does which incidentally is riddled with ineffective actions, and yes, theft and outright cons.

          I’m sorry, but you really need to get out more and become more acquainted with how the real world works.

          A few items now and then does nothing to help anyone – teach a man to fish and all that.

          An art/english/humanities/music degree will get far far far more jobs than not having a degree

          Community college is where you find the poor trying to get up that need the food stamps. It’s very hard to live on a part time job and still be able to afford to eat. I would far rather that the government pay out for food stamps and get the unemployed a degree than have to pay welfare forever.

          Which ~is~ what’s going on – I don’t know what reality you are inhabiting, but it’s not the reality the rest of us are dealing with.

          • u1itn0w2day says:

            Government does NOT always work better let alone work at all. The same person I mentioned earlier tossed off government food stamps got access to a private foodbank which actually is more effective because they only have FOOD at the foodbank. This is just as effective as any government bureaucracy when it comes to food distribution. They too have a bureaucracy requiring documented proof of need but the process is simplier and quicker. Perhaps the government should change the way they get food to the needy.

      • sadie kate says:

        Thank you for this comment. I wanted to write something along these lines, but I was too busy going blind with rage.

    • Mit Long says:

      I don’t totally disagree, but it seems you’re making a lot of assumptions and generalizations.

      I do disagree with the assertion that people who can’t pay for college without help should just give up their dreams and resign themselves to working whatever jobs they can get with a high school diploma, as opposed to utilizing every option at their disposal so that they may one day realize their dreams.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      +1, creating socialist junkies.

      This is bullcrap, I know people with a child layed off who maxed out their food stamps claim AFTER their unemployement ran out and they got a 8$ an hour retail job. Were told they make too much. Food Stamps were ment for emergency catastrophic economic scnerios in people’s lives. College is not an emergency or catastrophic event.

      BUT stuff like this does not come out of the blue. WHO, WHO THE FRACK was THE one who initiated this. They need to be made an example of.

      If they think college tuition is too high then deal with high college tuition but don’t offuscate the problem just to solve your very own problem.

      W T F !

      • little stripes says:

        ” College is not an emergency or catastrophic event.”

        Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you can afford food. If you can’t afford food, then it’s an emergency.

        It’s people like you that really piss me off. You all scream “BOOTSTRAPS!” but then when people actually try to better themselves, you scream “OH MY GOD why don’t you just quit college and go work at McDonald’s until you save enough money to afford college and eating all on your own without any help whatsoever, because only the well off deserve an education, jeeeez”. Illogical hypocrites.

        • u1itn0w2day says:

          No the well off aren’t the only ones that deserve an education but because you simply want or desire an education does not make you or anyone else special. Nor are you the only one that wants to better yourself. Not only are there choices other than college there are other ways of dealing with the exhorbitant costs of college. For starters just like dealing with any other business or industry if they are too expensive or their policy ticks you off then go somewhere else, try something else but don’t try to change the rules/game the system for a solution that will not solve anything. Food Stamps do nothing but throw more money at an existing problem.

          • little stripes says:

            My sister was on food stamps for about 2 years. She now has a full time job and her own place. Without those food stamps, she’d likely be on the streets, and starving right now. I’m sorry that I’m not a greedy asshole like you, but I am willing to have my tax money help those who are in need.

            Do you even give to charity? Something tells me you don’t.

            • Mrs. w/1 child says:

              Was your sister a college student on food stamps for two years? If she was she should have stopped going to college in order to work to feed herself.

              I find it silly that you claim to give to charity but state your sister (your own flesh and blood) would be on the streets and starving. Wouldn’t you gladly give your sister food and shelter?

              Not only does my family give cash donations to charity (our parish), I donate my labor and make every effort to share and subtly help out those around me before they have to ask. This winter I (among many other women) worked very hard to collect beds, bedding, blankets, and winter clothing to ensure that the working poor (my own socio economic strata BTW) in my parish had basic comforts. It may shock you (and your almost homeless and almost starving sister) but many people work more than one job and use all of their money to afford basic food and rent for them and their children. Then they are taxed and forced to provide food stamps (and loans) to college students! Little extras like a bed for every member of the family, extra blankets (because they keep the heat low to be able to afford it), and winter accessories (one comfortable warm coat instead of layers of sweaters, gloves/mittens instead of socks over their hands) are not guaranteed. We drove all over the city collecting items, washing them in our homes, paying to move mattresses, etc. Our time, labor, gas, car wear and tear, utilities and laundry soap were donated. Then many of us drove all over delivering these items. I am lucky that my family even has a car – the majority of people don’t, it is too expensive.

              I make sure that when I grocery shop that I always pick up a few “extra” items. Items that I then tell a woman who is a member of my playgroup (that I know is struggling to make ends meet with her Husband) that my husband didn’t care for, could she use them? Other Mothers in our playgroup have clothes that their children “grew out of” (even though they look new) or “bought the wrong size and lost the receipt so I can’t return it” (underwear) for the same family. It is a polite pretense and when her family is back on their feet she will contribute what she can to help all of us if we are ever struggling.

              What I would never do is allow my sister (or brother or any family member) to become desperate enough to go on food stamps. If he or she were that poor, I would make great sacrifices in my immediate family to feed, house, and dress my sibling. What kind of person are you?! Did you need your cable TV and internet connection more than your sister needed food? Did you offer your sister a bed in your home? I will sleep soundly tonight knowing my family would cancel the internet service and eat plain pasta every night if they had to to care for me and I would do the same for them.

              Of course you must think we are stupid for doing this when we could all just live off of everyone else. Sending your own sister to social services for food stamps…Shame on you.

              • Kate says:

                Shame on you for pushing religious charity – that is not charity, that is just forced propaganda in the guise of so called ‘help’.

                The best way to handle charity is through the government – charity is too agendized and too spotty – why didn’t your church find and help her sister if that is a good solution?

                And why would you assume this person was an adult with her own home and job at the time? Or that the sister would be OK with help from a family member. The best way to help a family member is to make them stand up for themselves and go through public help. Too often the family member will end up with a permanent extra mouth because it’s so easy to have sis pay the bills and it would cause a family war if you pushed her back out on her. Having to go through the system and prove you are indigent means you don’t get help unless you need it and you don’t have to have your family lord it over you. This is why government help is the healthiest way for people to go.

                You make an awful lot of assumptions.

                • rmorin says:

                  Shame on you for pushing religious charity – that is not charity, that is just forced propaganda in the guise of so called ‘help’.

                  Shame on you for being a bigot.

              • u1itn0w2day says:

                +10, Exactly

                If it’s too expensive you don’t buy it until YOU know how YOU are going to pay for it and NOT figure out how to get someone else to pay for it. As someone who has made education decisions based on money and still able to find a job and donate to charities etc I little or no sympathy for this ends justify the means attitude twards food stamps.

              • chargernj says:

                Hmm… what would Jesus preffer?

                A society in which individual people banded together to help others on a small individual scale that allows many to go without?

                Or a society in which people leveraged the collective power of government to help almost everybody who needed it?

                I think Jesus was a realist and would have preferred to help the greater number of people, but then, I’m not a religious person, so your logic doesn’t always make sense to me.

            • u1itn0w2day says:

              Wrong Answer. Not only have I given many dollars to charity(return address labels handy & stickers cool) I have donated my personal time for years and it was NOT community service to avoid jail. I’ve been donating to causes long before they became fashionable as well.

              As far as other people having used food stamps it’s something I never would’ve done it and if someone already did it oh well cats out of the bag. But guess what, we( the society: which many seem to be using to rationalize THEIR degree) ARE paying for the excessive liberal distribution of many benefits period. It’s called the government debt and taxes. It’s called an inane bureaucracy And it’s not just about millionares or six figure earners. SOME taxes are necessary for services like police, fire OR someone in DESPERATE need.

              Yes, we should have safety nets for those IN dire straits but NOT for those who are about to fall into dire straits of their own doing. People seem to want to use a safety net for other purposes and like any other tool you abuse it will break or injure you.

            • chargernj says:

              Your sister actually exemplifies the norm. Most people who go on welfarte are off in two years or less. Yes, there are people who abuse the system but they are a small minority of the total.

        • Mrs. w/1 child says:

          You realize that you can begin college, run out of money, work for a year, then go back to college? That you can go to college part time and work full time?

          You do realize that our country (in addition to my state and municipality) is not just broke but actually in debt? Deeply in debt?

          That at some point it became permissible to have others support you when you are capable of supporting yourself? Food stamps are available so you can eat and not starve, not so you can “better yourself” at the expense of others. I went to college (part time while I worked) and know that there is no reason an adult should get to sit around “learning” while other adults have to work to feed them.

          • little stripes says:

            It is NOT easy to quit college and go back. Depending on your studies, you may need to re-take classes so you don’t fail the next sort of classes. I want to become an ASL interpreter. I actually DID have to take a break. And now I have to re-take some of my ASL classes, because if you don’t use it, you lose it.

            Also, a VERY large majority of people who quit school never return. This is fact.

            And “learning” in quotes. Really? You do realize that education is VERY IMPORTANT in our society if you want to actually contribute and not get stuck flipping burgers, right? if it wasn’t, why did you even bother?

            Your attitude is why we are in such a horrible state right now: You care more about right now than our future.

          • Coffee says:

            Your belief about the way people should approach college is just not in line with reality. Getting student loans to go to college is like buying a house. The bank lends you the money knowing that the education you receive will increase your earning potential over time, allowing you to eventually hold a job that will enable you to pay back the loan with interest. There’s no mooching going on…the loan has to be repaid and cannot even be discharged in bankruptcy.

            By your logic, people who are too poor to buy houses outright have no business getting into home ownership either…they should squirrel their money away until they can finally afford to purchase a house because not having that much money somehow mean that they don’t deserve to own a house.

            • Mrs. w/1 child says:

              Yes you completely understand the issue, you just don’t want to believe that a precious degree (in most cases STEM fields, law, going to med school, etc. are the exception) isn’t worth anything. Review the recent housing bubble. Housing prices didn’t go up forever, bad – really bad loans were made. Now take a peek at the education bubble. College educations already don’t provide “better jobs” in most fields. You have no business buying a house you cannot afford, and you have no business buying an optional education you can’t afford.

              You can save 20% for a down payment. It takes time and commitment. You can go to college, if you run out of money (to the point that you need food stamps) you can work then go back to college. It takes time and commitment.

              Just because a mortgage broker or admissions councilor (both paid on commission) will talk you into more than you can afford. Be a rational adult and spend within your means.

              Both bubbles are subsidized by the government. Now add additional welfare on top of it. This is history repeating itself in less than 10 years.

              • Kate says:

                I’m sorry dear, the reality is without a college degree, it’s extremely hard to find a job anymore. And that is the reality that the republicans wrought that no doubt you too are to blame for.

                And yes, there is an education bubble, but that hardly means that education is not worth it. It means that what was once subsidized by the people who used those who were educated (ie the rich) no longer do.

              • chargernj says:

                actually, admissions counselors don’t make commission. At least not at any of the schools I ever worked at. I believe it might even be illegal.

          • Verdant Pine Trees says:

            So, you mention going to school in that way – but you don’t mention if you, like the advice you give students, decided to drop out for a year, and then return?

            You know what that’s total bunk? Because in many programs at state-funded colleges and universities, if you don’t complete by a given period of time, you have to start all over again and repeat classes.

      • pop top says:

        *meant *obfuscate

      • Mit Long says:

        Right, don’t take advantage because your very own problems aren’t important enough? I’d just like to point out that having kids is a choice just like going to college is a choice.

        This false assumption that there a ton of people unnecessarily using food stamps for free food while the rest of us suckers are paying for it, makes me ill. 25 years ago it was welfare queens with 10 fake kids who were claiming residence in 5 states. It shouldn’t shock anyone that there are bad people in this world and some of these bad people commit fraud and misuse government programs. I, like most, think we should continue doing our best to find these “worst case offenders” and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

        I do not think that a person who is trying to better themselves by getting a college education, and because of that is having a hard time paying their bills, should feel any remorse about accepting help in their time of need. My hope is that they graduate college, get a decent job doing something they enjoy, and are forever grateful for the wonderful opportunities afforded to someone living in the USA, and subsequently donate generously to a food bank annually, so that others may benefit from similar treatment one day.

        • Coffee says:

          *slow clap*

        • ChuckECheese says:

          (I’m agreeing with you here) – One of the saddest aspects of our current social welfare programs is that it aggressively excludes people who are trying to better themselves through college or retraining. As our workforce changes and changes more rapidly, and as employers continue to demand an on-call workforce, the need for a safety net only increases.

          • Coffee says:

            Exactly…and it’s not just food stamps…there are people who receive a certain amount of aid, and should they choose to work part-time, their aid will be taken away or cut to the extent that it’s a net loss for them, so not only is there no motivation to work; it actually disincentivizes people to better themselves at all.

        • Dieflatermous says:

          The myth of the welfare queen persists, apparently. Snopes is your friend.

      • NeonNoodle says:

        Exactly. College prices are the real culprit here. The prices raise every year, way above minimum wage and inflation. It use to be working a couple of jobs and your parents working a couple of jobs, and you were good. Now its just impossible because both you and your parents have to have above minimum wage jobs to even attempt to pay for it. Yeah they could save but not everyone has that ability. I think that is where the rub is, assuming/demanding parents have saved for college is ridiculous. This isnt 1990 where a pay check was worth its weight. EVERYTHING is 3-5x more expensive than it was then. College is the worst of them. Hell 90% of people in college are being passed up by their counterpart who is getting experience in that same field. College is overpriced and is proven to not have the same flare that it use to vs its work experience counterpart. The way the economy and jobs are today, I cant imagine anyone having a problem with self fending students getting govt assistance. Luckily the situation that I am in, my kids will have their college fully paid for because of my job/location. The US sucks now, leave the college kids with 50k debt already alone. Finding a job, getting a housing loan, paying for gold priced gas, etc.. are already going to kill them.

    • rmorin says:

      You make a lot of points here so it’s hard to discuss them all but I think everyone (regardless of if you are liberal or conservative) can agree that:

      “I honestly got tired of paying that amount of money per semester just to eat,” says a Georgia State student. “I did not even know that I was applicable for food stamps until someone told me about the site and to apply to see if I would get it… Since then, I have saved a ton of money.”

      Is totally NOT what the system is for. You don’t use these safety-net services because you are “tired” of doing something, you use them because you have no choice. This individual quoted is truly a greedy, terrible person. Since then, I have saved a ton of money What the … These aren’t coupons! You don’t use this to save money, you do so because you have no choice!

      Gosh, I do not have a problem with with SNAP programs for college students per se, but certainly not for what this idiot is describing.

      • poco says:

        Faux News has trained you well, little internet warrior. College isn’t an option these days. And college has become so overpriced (thanks to Rethuglicans cutting government spending and giving the money to their wealthy supporters) that the average American can’t afford it. So the option is: go to college and maybe support yourself, and avail yourself of the few government programs left after thirty years of Neocon corruption; or don’t and spend the rest of your life scraping by and probably end up destitute and on the street.

        That’s the country your boys on the right have created. And if you think they give a sh*t about you or anyone else who isn’t a millionaire you’re deluded.

        • u1itn0w2day says:

          Employment should be the priority and not the college of your choice. That means if you have to go to a community college, a cheaper trade school,wait or get your degree part-time you do it. The four year cookie cutter education right out of high school is NOT an entitlement nor a practical reality. Learning is not limited to the classroom. One of the first lessons out of high school should be if YOU can’t afford it YOU do NOT buy it. It’s called a hard but practical choice.

          I agree we need more education in this country period but no one is entitled. The problem of education or lack there of is what needs to addressed. Not how to misuse/abuse a system ment for something/someone completely different.

        • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

          College is more expensive because the Government is giving out free money and easy access loans to go to it.

          If people are able to spend $1000 a year on College, colleges would adjust to cost around $1000 per year.

          If the Government is willing to assist with $400 for College costs all while people are still able to spend that same $1000 a year, colleges will adjust to cost around $1400 per year.

          • FatLynn says:

            Absolutely not true. College has gotten more expensive because state and federal funding has been cut, so it no longer goes directly to the schools. Also, it has gotten more expensive because need-blind admissions mean that more students who couldn’t go to college at all a generation ago are being supported by those who can afford it.

            • u1itn0w2day says:

              I think the rate of tuition increases/inflation far exceeds the rates of funding cuts. The problem is that the college industry is not immune from the ‘somebody else is paying for it’ syndrome. In the end these colleges realize ALOT of their money comes from a third party. Wether it be a loan, grant, scholarship, VA, parents or a company sending someone to school the fact that someone else is paying for it drives the cost. If third party funding wasn’t available they wouldn’t bother with a financial aide office/staff nor would they make a trip to the financial aide office mandatory for students. Costs would be much closer to what someone could pay out of pocket.

  10. Sarek says:

    My senior year in college, I lived off-campus. One of my roommates qualified for food stamps. He was employed part-time and he was legally emancipated (and his parents didn’t have much money anyway.)

    Oddly, our other roommate and I were allowed to use them (they were paper coupons then).

  11. ExtraCelestial says:

    I don’t see a problem with this. These are people that are trying to better themselves and hopefully keep this to a temporary situation. That’s pretty much who these types of programs were intended to help. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to take advantage of it if they are eligible and they’re likely going to be spending the next 40 years paying into that same system? It’s certainly wiser than the opposite route of taking on 6 figure debt.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      I only pressed submit once….

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Deal with college tuition costs but do NOT expect the rest of society to pay for YOUR choices and inability to deal with the college of YOUR choice and what they bill YOU.

      I don’t give me some hippy save the world crap either. Hidi hidi ho. Oh yeh, pay for your trips to Mickey Ds.

      • little stripes says:

        So basically, only the well off deserve an education and deserve to eat while getting an education.

        You’re probably one of those people who claim this sort of thing should be based solely on charity and people, not the government, helping those in need, while you don’t give a penny of your money to those in need.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        The rest of society huh? You mean all those college graduates with no kids paying ASSLOADS of money in income tax which goes to fund things like tax refunds for people with kids? Or people who are unemployed or on this (apparently new to you) thing called foodstamps? That rest of society?
        What the hell do you think a “society” is? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the exact opposite of people scattering to fend completely for themselves. We all rely on eachother in some capacity. If you don’t like it feel free to build yourself a little cabin in the woods somewhere, fairly sure you won’t be missed.

        • BorkBorkBork says:

          I agree with your rebuttal.

          But don’t forget every college student also holding down a job, who has a significant chunk of his/her money taken out for Social Security to fund the retirements of older generations. (Like we’re ever going to see that cash again)

          Everyone puts money in the ‘society pot’ in one way or another, but to say that college students shouldn’t be allowed to take any out is, I feel, biased.

        • Coffee says:

          Thank you for writing this :)

        • u1itn0w2day says:

          People are trying to make it seem like employable and/or employed college graduates are the only ones that pay taxes. That’s elitist if not selfish thinking in itself. I know professional licensed/certified/non college graduate trades people that wind up around the 6 figure mark years on end among others. I also know unemployed social worker master degree types that are unemployed. I know waiters making more at high end restaraunts than they did with their 4 degree and pay everything in CASH.

          In this economy college graduates are not exactly paying down the debt with their employment.


          But this is reality and not the guarantee or entitlement that many college students feel entitled to.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        Four years receiving $200 a month ($9,600) is the equivalent of the 40+ years they’ll be paying into the system as a gainfully employed college grad? I (at 26) pay more than that in taxes annually. And I will continue to do so for the next four decades.

        Everyone benefits from everyone’s contributions. As crispyduck pointed out, that’s how a society works. I don’t get pissy because I (as someone with no children) help to fund public schools for other people’s kids. Or help build roads I will never drive. We don’t each live on independent islands.

      • noramine says:

        Not sure I’ve met a more judgmental person in recent history. Hi, welcome to the rest of the country, where we’re all struggling to survive, and okay with helping each other get there.

        • u1itn0w2day says:

          Oh give me break with the struggle to survive. It’s not being judgemental I’m stating some facts like the use of food stamps to fund an education of choice is the misuse/abuse of a program ment to feed those in dire desperate need. It’s simply an ends justify the means attitude as far as I’m concerned.

          If you want an education or education costs reduced, fine I’m for that. But deal with THE issue:education costs. Seems like a bunch of college types forget one of the first lessons they’re taught in a science or writing class, come up with A thesis and a specific topic. Micro not macro. Stay focused, stay on topic and don’t try to turn your wishes and whims into an anything goes free for all.

          • shadowboxer524 says:

            It’s not misuse/abuse of the program if the government deems the students eligible. As long as they do not lie on their applications, they are doing nothing wrong. It seems you should address your hostility toward the government, not the students for opting into a program for which they qualify.

            • u1itn0w2day says:

              Your right. It maybe legally “ok” for college students to apply for and get food stamps. These are loopholes that must be taken care of by the legislature and courts. But I resent the fact that college students think their needs and situation are the same as someone who’s situation is much more dire: this is misuse and abuse of a program ment for something completely different. This also pulls resources from those who need that food stamp money for daily survival and not a future career.

  12. ExtraCelestial says:

    I don’t see a problem with this. These are people that are trying to better themselves and hopefully keep this to a temporary situation. That’s pretty much who these types of programs were intended to help. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to take advantage of it if they are eligible and they’re likely going to be spending the next 40 years paying into that same system? It’s certainly wiser than the opposite route of taking on 6 figure debt.

  13. Bladerunner says:

    “If (an applicant) is working at least 20 hours per week and meets income limits”…

    I don’t see how a college student could possibly meet the income limits…Pell Grant or subsidized loan, college is expensive, and that’s all income, isn’t it?

    I am quite bothered by this.

    • who? says:

      Pell grants are scholarships, not income. They’re used specifically for school expenses.

      Loans, being *loans* and all, are also not income.

      • Bladerunner says:

        Pell grants are not TAXABLE income. However, you use the money to purchase things. That would make them income, no?

        Loans are money given to you. Once again, not taxable income, because you have to pay it back. However, it is still, from a literal standpoint, income.

        • ExtraCelestial says:

          I’m not sure what part of this is unclear to you are why you are insisting on arguing this point. This is not up for debate. This is not open to interpretation. This is how it works. Obviously if it was income, they would not qualify. The supercilious asshole in me would tell you you have now crossed the line from misinformed to willfully ignorant.

          • Bladerunner says:

            No. Income is money that comes in. How is this hard? I understand that, apparently, it is not considered income for the purposes of food stamps. I understand “This is how it works”.

            I also understand how words are fundamentally defined: money that comes in is income. There’s “gross income”, there’s “net income”, there’s “taxable income” there’s “income as defined for our purposes”, and all of these can be different.

            It’s pedantic, granted, when I know that what you and the others mean, which is “the program doesn’t count it as income”, but words mean things.

            I haven’t disagreed that the program clearly doesn’t count it; it is still a form of income, per the definition of the word.

            As a source,
            the monetary payment received for goods or services, or from other sources, as rents or investments.
            something that comes in as an addition or increase, especially by chance.
            Archaic . a coming in.
            1250–1300; Middle English: literally, that which has come in, noun use of incomen (past participle of incomen to come in), Old English incuman; see in, come

            Related forms
            in·come·less, adjective

            1. interest, salary, wages, annuity, gain, return, earnings.

            1. outgo, expenditure.

            I would say that, while 1 might not technically apply (though one could fairly easily argue otherwise; you are given money specifically to do something, go to school, but I’m not going to bother to here), 2 does fit quite nicely, in that it is an increase (money you didn’t have before), that comes in, and many would say that chance factors in a great deal.

            To draw an analogy, that is taxable income: lottery or gambling winnings. Is there that vast a difference between a grant and lottery winnings? (Well, yes, in that grants have a specific purpose, however, I mean in terms of the type of income).

            I don’t mean to write such a long response, but I fail to see why this is a debate. The money is income, as defined commonly. It is not income in regards to how it is counted by the government/food stamps boards. Can we all agree on that and move on?

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I’m bothered by the fact that you don’t understand even the most basic things about college financial aid.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        I’m not because it explains clearly how someone could be uneasy about a student (who’s trying to get an education and become a gainfully employed taxpayer) having their basic needs met. Their ignorance of the system allows me to conclude that they never had to struggle financially through college (or possibly ever).

        • Bladerunner says:

          Or, you supercilious asshole, it might mean that I struggled through college with no help from my parents, and when I couldn’t afford it, I dropped out and got a damn job. It might also fucking mean that.

          Food stamps are money for those who cannot afford to eat despite their best efforts.

          • tbax929 says:

            While I hate your language, I love your sentiment.

            I couldn’t afford college. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to college. What did I do? I joined the Army and qualified for the GI Bill, which helped with about half of my college costs. For the other half, I worked full time during the day while going to school at night. I never considered getting food stamps while I was in college. The notion that people do is absolutely ridiculous.

            • Bladerunner says:

              Sorry; I usually try to keep it at least mostly clean on here. I just saw red on that one; I am far from rich, and the arrogance of the comment was…bothersome.

            • little stripes says:

              So if you can’t afford college, you should join the army and put your life at risk? That’s your answer?

              • Bladerunner says:

                If you want something that you can’t afford, how do you get it? You earn it. One way is by joining the military; it is not the only way, but it is the way tbax929 chose.

          • ExtraCelestial says:

            You couldn’t afford to attend school and just resolved to quit, never looking into financial aid or grants? Or does that make you “uneasy” as well?

            • Bladerunner says:

              I am a white male, with an older sibling who went to college, decent but not amazing grades, and parents who were perfectly capable, but unwilling, to provide financial assistance. I qualified for almost nothing but loans, and even then my cap of subsidized student loans was capped at tuition; I recognized that, with a job market that wasn’t looking fantastic even then, it was likely a bad idea to get too deeply in debt with unsubsidized loans. I applied for those few I qualified for; statistically unsurprising, I received none of them. I left and supported myself with a few bad jobs, before I looked into my options and what I wanted to do, and returned to my local community college, where I received my training for my present career in EMS (but not a degree). I’ve since used my employer’s training programs to get a few credits and move forward in my career; I plan to shortly look into what I will need to do to convert what credits I do have into an Associate’s (or possibly Bachelor’s, depending on what looks like the best option) I’m sure I’ll have more credits to take, but I need to combine and transfer them all together and find out.

              But thanks for assuming I didn’t look into it! You’re on a roll!

              You’re quoting yourself, btw. I never said “uneasy”, I said bothered. When you quote yourself like that, it seems very awkward. If you were trying to be snide, you failed.

              • ExtraCelestial says:

                I honestly don’t know where uneasy came from… even in my original comment I only used it because I thought you did. I guess that’s what I get for trying to comment at work

                I’ve read some of your other comments and I am going to conclude with this. I strongly disagree with a lot of your opinions, but you seem like you are perhaps a decent person and maybe not the tea-bagging, poor people are lazy stereotyping, “everyone’s a socialist” extremist type I admittedly unfairly rushed to lump you as. In my defense it is the internet, and for some reason that type seems particularly drawn to this website and social program conversations. See while you were calling me a supercilious asshole, I had read your comment with the same haughty tone.

      • Bladerunner says:

        Like what, exactly? Like that you’re being given money?

        • crispyduck13 says:

          That you apparently think Pell Grants, etc. count as income. Or maybe I have your opinion all wrong because your original comment sounds like it was written by a 9 year old.

          • Bladerunner says:

            Oh, silly me. I thought money that you have, that you did not have before, was income. I guess I have that ALL WRONG.

            Just, for your reference, there is a difference between the word income as a general concept and the word as it is used for things like taxes, and food stamp eligibility. While I understand why the money is not taxed, I can’t for the life of me understand why the money is not factored in for food stamps.

            If you have (say) a full ride scholarship or grant, that covers room, board, and tuition, provided you do work as an intern for 20 hrs a week, does that mean you can collect food stamps, and welfare, since you work the requisite 20 hrs, and you don’t have “income”? Is that not ridiculous?

            I like your ad hominem, though. Nothing says “I have a valid point” quite like saying someone sounds like a 9-year-old.

            • crispyduck13 says:

              I don’t know if you’ve ever filled out a FAFSA or even went to college but I’ll tell you here and now: grants and scholarships, even a full ride are NOT considered income in the eyes of the IRS. You can bitch and moan all you want about how it should be, but it’s not. When I was a waitress while going to school full time, making maybe $8 an hour average I paid taxes on that $8 an hour. I never once had to declare any of my grants as income.

              • Bladerunner says:

                “even a full ride are NOT considered income in the eyes of the IRS”.

                I never disagreed with that! In fact, I even said “Just, for your reference, there is a difference between the word income as a general concept and the word as it is used for things like taxes,”

                The IRS does not use the dictionary definition. It defines it for its purposes. Your taxable income is different than your gross income is different than your net income. They mean different things (even if they aren’t always different numbers).

                But are we not all angered when a multi-billion dollar company’s “income” on its forms is $1 because they’ve gamed the system? How is this different? Sure, it follows the letter of the law, but it’s bothersome to know that someone who has plenty of money, and the ability to work if they so chose, is getting food stamps because they’ve chosen, instead, to go to school. I’m not saying “raaghh no student should ever get food stamps”, but on the flip side, maybe they should cut back on their credits and up their hours at work? College is not a right. If you can’t afford to do it, you might have to give it up; especially if you’ve already received a lot of help in the form of grants/scholarships/etc.

                Oh, and food stamps? Not part of FAFSA. Just saying. So the income as defined on the FAFSA, which uses the IRS taxable income figure, is not necessarily the same as the food stamps number. I guess it usually is; I get that, but I’m kind of bothered that it is, then, due to situations like this.

                • noramine says:

                  Well they don’t, if I recall, factor in home loans, car loans, or other loans either. Let me guess, you’re one of the very few people who were able to a)get full scholarships, b)have your parents pay for school outright, c)work a full time schedule (if you could get a job to give you that many hours) and take as many classes as you could manage at the same time?

                  Or did you not go? I’d include the other way- military service, but I don’t think that even those on the crazy side of the argument will argue that service doesn’t deserve the perk of going to school. Well, god. I hope not anyway.

                  Anyway, that money isn’t “income” so much as a loan, and it’s not going in your pocket and helping you pay for food. When I went to a campus school, I had a meal plan that was forced on me, and if I had classes during the food hall hours, OH WELL, I didn’t eat dinner three days a week. If I had to work study during that time because it was the only slot I could get, OH WELL, maybe if I was lucky I could get someone to bring me a sandwich, but they watched the outgoing food pretty strictly.

                  Now I go to a community college more than ten years later. I have the VA paying for part of my schooling and loans paying for the rest. Or rather, money I already earned, and money being put aside for me to earn and repay later. Just like your home loan and your car loan and your insurance and credit cards and.. etc.

                  Most of the people at my school aren’t as lucky as I am. Most of them either live at home with their parents, work full time, and go to school full time. Or they live three and four to an apartment and work two part time jobs and go to school full time. Or, like one girl I know, works two jobs, sells jewelry she makes in metal shop if she’s lucky, sells blood when she has to, does work study, and somehow still finds time to attend classes. I myself am finding it hard to find a job, because in order to finish my degree in the three years allotted by the GI Bill, I have to do as full a load as the school will allow. And that means that while two people apply for a job- one with full availability and me, with I can work here, and here, but not here, and here, but not here, well. Who do you think they’re picking? If I didn’t have supplemental income that I earned from my service (and fuck you if you think I don’t deserve it), then I wouldn’t be able to pay for my bills that keep me in my apartment, my car that gets me to school, or my books (trust me it doesn’t really cover them). I’m still scrounging month to month and applying to every job I can find, calling and calling and still nothing. And before you tell me to get rid of my internet, no thank you, I use it for school. Libraries aren’t really open constantly where I live, so that’s not a valid suggestion.

                  People do work hard, people do struggle, and money that doesn’t go toward their living expenses does not count as income because it’s NOT income.

                  I’m not eloquent and I’m annoyed but I’m sure you get what I’m saying.

                  • Bladerunner says:

                    It is income. I’m being pedantic, granted, but it is income, by the very definition of the word. This does not mean I don’t understand the point some people are trying to make, but don’t bs me. I copied and pasted the damn definition for you, if you’re too lazy to look it up (which, since you were too lazy to read the replies to the post you were replying to where all the things you are complaining about are already addressed, well, I’m guessing you are, in fact, too lazy to do so).

                    And rather than me typing a long post that readdresses things yet again, why don’t you read the other replies, which already address everything you say? Multiple times, in fact. It also address where I come from in regards to income level; so, you can make more assumptions that have already been dispelled, or you stop being an idiot. Up to you.

                    And buy a goddamn dictionary. Words mean things. When you ignore what they mean because you don’t like the connotations, you wind up with polarized sides of debate that can almost agree, but never will because they don’t want to admit things that they don’t like.

                    And for the record, I never said students shouldn’t get help. What I said was that I found the idea of students getting food stamps bothersome, when they have quite a bit of income. They are choosing to go to school, which limits their further income. I wouldn’t be against a whole new program for helping students, that serves essentially a similar purpose, but they are gaming the system when they get food stamps, which are intended for people who are unable, not unwilling, to earn enough money to pay for food. When politicians in cash-strapped areas talk about cutting food stamp funding, it’s not “hey, you’re going to make life inconvenient for students!”, it’s “You’re going to kill kids and poor people!” I am in favor of helping students. Just not being lied to to do so. Frankly, I believe the gov’t should have a warehouse of mediocre but healthy food, and everybody who wants to can go to get their basic needs met regardless of income level. But that’s besides the point.

  14. galm666 says:

    A lot of college meal plans are horribly overpriced. $1700 per semester? That’s over $400 a month. When I was single, with no pets, my weekly grocery runs were about $60, not including an extras (like cleaning supplies, alcohol, etc.). The Mrs. and I, with pets included, spend about $300 a month, including extras.

    Those meal plans are a HUGE ripoff. They’re only successful since the students don’t really have an alternative in the dorms. They’d be worth if a lot of that food wasn’t processed stuff or was just better in general quality. Hire someone who is an actual chef to run the cafeterias, who can find great solutions and great food instead of shipping in the next Ben E. Keith 18 wheeler.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Very true, and the meal plans are often forced upon you by the school, aka they don’t let you live there without being on a meal plan. Not to mention a lot of students I went to college with would order out and get delivery adding tons more dollars onto the already expensive meal plan, which resulted in a meal plan that was hardly ever used, but still being paid for. They did this cause the food at my school was so bad.

      Its just so much cheaper to get an off campus apartment these days especially with the hassles and added expenses of living on campus. That $400 a month would go a long ways towards the rent.

    • smbizowner says:

      news flash,

      been around a college cafe lately? My son graduated from Michigan State University worked in the “dorm cafeteria” all 4 years.

      They do have a professions chef staffing the kitchen. And the “cafeteria” looked more like an upscale food court/restaurant in the local hi end mall. Pasta, sandwiches hot and cold, pizza – name your pie, deluxe salad station, American gourmet, Asian available for LUNCH and Dinner.

      this was not your old hot dog, hamburger – where is the Yogurt and cottage cheese cafeteria of the 70’s or the 80’s

      Ya I can see where the food plan is $1700

    • hmburgers says:

      I’m an adult. I provide 2-3 meals per day for myself for a total of about $200, and I’m not trying very hard either…

      $1700/semester seems like insanity.

      However… I am also going to night school at a major private university… and their student union is more like a mall food court… I can completely understand how you might run up $400/mo eating 3 meals a day at the mall.

      The school I went to had a cafeteria, you went in and some chef named Barf was in the background slopping 2-3 of the various “specials”… there was no organic asian salad with cage free grilled chicken like I see now…

      • hmburgers says:

        Oy… OK…

        So yeah, now I spend $200/mo on my food.

        My current schooling is masters at night… that school has the “mall food court”.

        My undergrad from 15 years ago was at a place that had what we all probably remember from elementary school… the three to four large hairnetted women handing out mass produced government food… of course these days I guess elementary schools are probably more like the mall too….

    • pk says:

      Even at the tender age of 18, I could see what a rip off college meal plans were. Only idiots would keep paying that amount after the college requires them to (my college required all freshmen to sign up for the meal plan)

  15. ARP says:

    This is a difficult one. You want to help students that are emancipated and don’t get help from their parents, but you don’t want students with parents who help them gaming the system. It’s extremely hard to catch if the parents just send them money or pay for their stuff, but don’t actually pay for their tuition, rent, etc.

  16. mister_roboto says:

    In college over 10 years ago in WA state, I qualified for food stamps as a student. However I never did take the offer, because I thought it should go to people with greater need than I.

    If I were in college now, I would take them. Because the 90’s were awesome, now… not so much.

    • Mit Long says:

      To quote an old 80’s commercial, “You make America work (and this Bud’s for you)”


      Seriously though, attitudes like this make the system work while people who think that something can come from nothing ruin it for everyone else.

      • mister_roboto says:

        True. I was unemployed for about 3 months before I found a job, and gave myself a 3 month deadline before I filed for unemployment (several years ago), if it were today I would have taken it rather than use my “emergency fund,” but back then unemployment wasn’t as bad as it is today nor as long (for me at any rate).

        I try to hope people in general make the “right” choices, but that’s probably holding out too much hope.

        • Mit Long says:

          Sometimes I think how nice the world would be if everyone thought about everyone else as much as they thought about themselves and it makes me sad…

          I mean, I’m no saint by any means, but just like everyone else I think I’m better than most.

    • Jamie All Over says:

      I’m glad to see people that think the way I do. It really irks me that I’m a bleeding heart liberal that would rather work more than take handouts, but my raging conservative friends seem to find some bullshit argument (I pay into it, it’s better for it to go to a college student whose contributing to society, other garbage).

  17. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    How about setting up government food delivery/pickup stations to distribute healthy staples to poor folks instead of allowing them to sell their food stamps for 50 cents on the dollar or throw them away on crap food sold by retailers?

    • iblamehistory says:

      As a still unemployed master’s degree holder married to a grad student who washes dishes part time, we’ve never sold our food stamps. We prefer to eat. Thanks for assuming, though.

      • Bladerunner says:

        Maltboy didn’t say all poor people did that, just that it was something poor people can do (though, not legally with the selling). I see it all the damn time. I actually knew a college student, getting help from her folks, who applied for and received food stamps anyway. Who also sold some for extra weed money. So…maltboy has a pretty valid point. Thanks for being oversensitive, though.

  18. azgirl says:

    I was denied my student loans and grants back in the day because the financial aid bozo told me that I couldn’t possibly be living on my own with the amount of money I made.. but alas, I did.. I even showed the budgets.. elaborate, painstaking budgets that I developed to pay my own way..

    I left that school.. ended up other places.. got 2 degrees in fact.. but I did it without their damn aid… wish I could have gotten food stamps. Cabbage and beans kept me alive but boy was I gassy…

  19. hmburgers says:

    Original Quote:
    “Since then, I have saved a ton of money.”

    Fixed Quote:
    “Since then, I have cost the tax payers a ton of money.”

    • little stripes says:

      Hey, some of us aren’t greedy assholes and are more than willing to use our tax money to help those in need.

      There’s this saying that goes our society should be judged based on how we treat the poorest and most disenfranchised. People like you are what made this country what it is today, and why so many people can’t afford to eat.

      • Kuri says:

        And why other countries with stronger welfare systems look down on us.

        • u1itn0w2day says:

          With a large chunk of places like Europe where economic chaos has led to unpaid bills/loans and riots in the streets I wouldn’t espouse the socialist policies of many of these places. Ask our old cold war buddies the Soviet Union about the long term effects of socialism.

    • iblamehistory says:

      “…even though I myself pay taxes, so I’m essentially getting back what I put into the system because my take home pay is so damn small. Nevermind the fact that my goal is to one day have a higher paying job that allows me to feed my family, pay my bills, and pay back into this ‘system’ that everyone wets themselves over.”

      I can’t believe I live in a country where people pound their chests and masturbate to the thought of funding wars, but feeding people is out of the question.

  20. Nobby says:

    What Republican politician will be first to demand that students receiving food stamps be drug tested?

    • Kuri says:

      Probably one who paid his way through college. Not got good grades or anything, but had the money to ensure he passed.

  21. smbizowner says:

    The state of Michigan passed a law where college students are not illegible for SNAP. So
    MSU has now opened a food pantry for those who are struggling to pay tuition, room/board etc.

    from what I read, it is well used.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Not illegible? They can be read? You might want to take another run at that sentence.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:


      And isn’t Michigan the state where the guy won a ton of money in the lottery, but still collected food stamps because he could? What sense does this make?

  22. vliam says:

    Get it while you can. Sadly, you can’t pay back student loans with food stamps.

    Remember the saying “stay in school”? That’s my advice. If you never leave, you’ll never be expected to pay back that money.

  23. ancientone567 says:

    Do it if you qualify. They screw students anyway they can. Students need a break.

  24. Ihateyourhighhorse says:

    Hey other College students!

    I worked my anus off during a summer job, and was able to pay my full 26k+ a year college tuition with only 1 loan per year. I did not need a job during the school year and was able to make it through just fine. (Graduating last May)

    Take a page from my book. You may need to sacrifice some social life….maybe not go out drinking as much…and dare I say spend your money wisely but….you don’t need to resort to food stamps.

    • noramine says:

      Your name’s kind of ironic.

      That’s great that you found a very special job, but not everyone has the luck to do that well. Most students I know are getting their hours cut and gouged if they can get hired on at all.

  25. Nic715 says:

    You’re definitely right about community colleges being more expensive now…I’m taking one class this semester, and with the required text books and lab notes, plus the special calculator and the access code we had to purchase for $100 to be able to login to the website where our homework assignments that are worth 50% of our grade are…I’ve paid over $1200 for ONE stinking class! I’m lucky I’m still able to work full time through the summer semester, but come fall I only have 2 classes but being a nursing student, it’s required that we spent a certain amount of hours in clinicals each semester. Just for one class-which is a 5 credit class-I will have to be in clinical 16 hours per week, lab for 6 hours and in the classroom for 3. So for one class alone I’m looking at 25 hours a week of dedicated class time. And they say to expect about 3 hours a week of home work/studying for every credit hour…so there’s 15 more hours. Plus I’ll need and additional 3 hours class and 3 hours lab for A&P 2. So there’s another 18 hours with homework etc. That’s considered ‘part time’ in nursing school and with tuition, fees, books, scrub and other supplies, I’m looking at a hefty bill…and not a ton of free time to work. Granted, I already have a bachelors degree and have been saving money while working full time for the last few years and probably won’t have to rely on food stamps to eat, I can see why other people do. Especially if they have kiss…which I do not.

  26. Wheels17 says:

    This sort of thing is not new. The University of Delaware is located directly on the Maryland border. When I went there in the ’70s, the in-state tuition and meal plans were very low cost. I knew several people who got apartments and summer jobs in Maryland, got laid off at the end of the summer, and collected Maryland unemployment and public assistance.

    They would qualify as in-state students by using their parents’ Delaware home addresses, and use the Maryland payments to fund their educational costs. No student loans for those folks!!

  27. khooray says:

    Don’t hurt yourself patting yourself on the back.

  28. PortlandBeavers says:

    We’re becoming Food Stamp Nation. There’s a place for a program like food stamps, but the number of people participating in the program is staggering. We need another Reagan to start demonizing welfare queens again. That strategy worked for a couple of decades, but no victory against government handouts is ever permanent. I wish I could blame Obama for all this, but the expansion of the program started in the Bush years, much like the return of deficits. Obama just took the baton and ran with it.

  29. retailriter says:

    The part-time jobs that students used to work to support themselves through college have gone to the laid off middle-aged people trying to save their homes.

    If people had to line up for this “food” as they did during the depression, we would have an outraged public on our hands. This is a “silent” soup kitchen.

  30. trencherman says:

    One of my best friends used food stamps back when we were in college together. As a child he had been at different times abused, homeless, and in the foster care system, and he managed to pull himself up out of poverty. I have nothing but respect for the food stamp program, and I think it’s appropriate that poor college students can qualify. (And he did NOT spend his food stamps on junk food–he was and is a great cook).

  31. Delphinia says:

    I can definitely relate to the meal plan issue. The meal plan at my college was around that price when I went (it’s up to $2200 per semester now). I had a full-tuition scholarship, but everything else was extra–almost everything from my part-time job went to the ~$1000 in books and lab fees I had to pay each semester. The dining hall was only open for two-hour intervals three times a day, twice on weekends, and if you couldn’t go at that time, oh well. I frequently missed meals because the classes required for my major were scheduled during lunch or dinner times, and of course you didn’t get that money back. The food was literally prison food–the catering company we had was the same one that had the contract for the federal prisons in our state. There was only one item available to order each day, like in an elementary school cafeteria, and the only self-serve options were a salad bar and cereal. If you had any kind of dietary requirement, you were pretty much SOL. We were permitted refrigerators in our dorm rooms, but the only cooking appliance we were permitted was an electric teakettle. Students frequently either drove into a nearby town to eat or ordered something to be delivered, because those were the only options. What a racket.