Cash-Strapped Georgia College Students Turning To Food Stamps

By Candice Leigh Helfand

ATLANTA, GA (CBS Atlanta) – Tuition hikes, combined with the increased cost of general living, have left many college students more strapped for cash than ever before.

As such, more and more are turning to tax-funded food stamp programs to help them afford the essentials.

The program – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP for short – is offered by the United States Department of Agriculture for qualifying people in need.

According to its website, eligibility requirements for the program include gross and net income tests and employment requirements. It is designed primarily to assist families, however students can apply, given the age and work stipulations in place for qualification.

A sum of $200 is awarded to program participants each month, which is to be used toward grocery bills.

The stigma of the cash-strapped college student is nothing new. The use of government aid in amending the situation, however, is a more recent phenomenon.

The educational institutions are reportedly not at all involved in the process on any level, but use of SNAP for help with food bills has become something of a widely accepted practice on campuses.

Ravae Graham, the deputy director of legislative affairs and communications for the state’s Department of Human Services, said that a student’s eligibility depends largely on the amount of time they work outside of the classroom.

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

She added that students who participate in school-funded work study programs may also make the cut.

Food stamp statistics for the state of Georgia provided to CBS Atlanta show that the average size of a household receiving food stamps in 2011 averaged out to 2.40 persons.

The totals for both households and individuals have increased over the past six years, but the latter has seen an especially large spike, rising from just under 950,000 individual users in 2006 to almost 1,740,000 in 2011.

According to The Signal, a student-run newspaper at Georgia State University, a basic meal plan at the school can cost approximately $1,700, which is more than many students can reportedly afford.

“With me being a senior and living on campus for the past four years, I honestly got tired of paying that amount of money per semester just to eat,” student Taylor Smith told the paper. “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.”

Added Smith, “Since then, I have saved a ton of money.”

  • kylenielsen

    I also found this blog useful

    • Ron

      Young folks came out in droves to vote for Hoax and Change, and they got it!

      • JByrd42

        Obama figured how to secure the vote of young college students. Even more handouts.

      • Dave McDonaldson

        Here’s your hope and change

        Osama Obama Biden (Bi)n La(den)
        One coincidence? Two coincidences?
        The odds of it being a coincidence is over 5 trillion to one. This is part of code created by wealthy elitists who wanted to elect their spokespeople to serve the interests of big business. It’s also the reason Sarah Palin was planted as McCain’s running mate with no intention of winning. Thank the CIA for our current economic downturn that’s forcing students into using food stamps to get by. If they got jobs with the CIA they could sell drugs as a side business.

    • pat smith

      1976 UC Berkeley students went for this big time; I myself participated and it was a common practice. I was putting myself through undergraduate school, worked 20 hours a week, and took a full load. Divorced parents, minumum child support and the system allowed it. Difference then was it was word of mouth, during Bush 2 and Obama I have heard pr/psa campaigns soliciting people to apply because they may be eligible. In California it is common to stand in line behing non-English speakers who use only food stamps or the credit card; able bodied, non-student, non-English speakers. The Europeanization/socialization of America has progressed without any necessary buy in via English or work. I have made amends since my food stamp days and am disappointed in the system.

  • changomango

    We’re all Obama’s House Knee Grows.

    • changomango

      I meant to say, Obama has turned the house knee grows into field knee grows!

  • Marty

    Hey, now that the government will buy their food, they have more money to spend on booze….yeah, that’s it!

    • Billy Bob

      If you think that is the only thing college students are doing… you are in for a big surprise !!!

    • rightsaidfred

      Why don’t they get a part time job? They can get meals at school fairly cheap. May not be the best food but it will be kind of like eating at the cafeteria in high school. Almost everyone I know had a part time job while attending college and I did as well. This doesn’t bode well for the future of this country!

      • bill

        They have to have a part time job to qualify for the aid you dolt.

    • John Fox


      • Austin

        Only sailors wear condoms

    • K1

      It is kinda hard to see, everyone struggling to find work. College is good, just make sure you going for a useful degree and not getting in over your head for nothing.
      We definitely need something in the way of employment.

    • Doc

      ..and buy MORE tattoos!

  • Mel Wahl

    Students have been living on Ramen Noodles for decades. What’s the big deal here?

    • John Fox


    • Mike Ike

      beans and rice with strips of bologna when I was in school.


        Another 6 letter word for Felony… BARACK!
        Another 7 letter word for Forgery… HUSSEIN!
        Another 5 letter word for Fraud… OBAMA!

        Yes, I’ve already self-reported to


  • cletus van damme

    cool, then when they get out of college with a ton of debt, they will go straight on full welfare cause their are no jobs period.

    • cletus van damme


  • independent citizen

    Welfare state here we come. From cradle to grave. We are all entitled to be paid by the government. The attitude is why work hard when father sam will pay for all

    • larry sanders

      Unelected officials took over Washington and our economy is suffering while they play domestic spying games. The next election is shaping up to be as big of a sham as the last. Do you know why Sarah Palin’s bus tour was really canceled? Do you know why she stayed 30 miles away from the second debate and chose the death of Steve Jobs to announce that she’s not running? Know what leaked out? Sarah Palin and Cain aren’t in the race for the same reason, the truth leaked out.

      • Christine Reilly

        Great link. I always thought Sarah Palin was smarter then she acted. Now I understand. Thanks!

      • Dave

        Was it because of College students on food stamps?

  • Mike

    It is shameful that these student moochers have learned to work the system to virtually rob others. It would be interesting to know how many of these low lifes have CATV, i pads, cell phones, etc. etc. I know the answer to that question. They have evolved into the gimmie society which can not sustain itself.

    • Sandy

      Obama is getting them to step into the river of socialism one foot at a time. Free birth control, too! By the time it is to late they will be under water paying off the national debt. Cheers! But, at least like Mike says, they will have TV’s to watch.

  • Been There

    When they’ve gotten rid of their cell phones, cable TV, X-Boxes, and lived off of generic macaroni and cheese (made with water, not milk) for a year or two, then I’ll feel sorry for them. But until then, Shut the H Up, whiners, snivelers and cry babies.

  • JP

    If these folks are listed as dependents of their parents, how are they getting approved for government assistance? Crazy!

    • teaj

      obama needs votes.

  • Joe Doakes

    College is the biggest rip off since the invention of paper money.

  • Big Al

    Hey Taylor – go to a community college or live at home you pathetic loser. Definitely another Obama voter. That person saved a lot of money while I have to pay more taxes to support this cretin.

  • JustAGuy

    Generation O!

    Students who attended Obama rallies, organized for Obama, and intimidated their classmates to support Obama, but now can barely live in the Obama Economy.

  • MainelyDoc

    This isn’t new. When I was a college student in Boston in the 1970s, food stamps were distributed in the banks. I was a substitute teller in a bank in Kenmore Square and gave free food stamps to wealthy Boston University students while old pensioners paid $35 for $50 worth of food stamps. The food stamp scam back then turned me from a liberal Democrat into a conservative Republican.

  • fgfdgsg

    Ask me how many 40+ hour a week jobs I am working so I can go to school nights? 1 – is that too much to ask? And that’s after doing the math to ensure I can do both and still eed my family. The world needs ditch diggers too, if you can;t afford college guess what you do for a living – pretty simple really – no one owes you anything – it’s your American Dream you make it happen!h

  • H J

    Every parent should have their college aged kid apply for food stamps and simply overwhelm the system. This is just more taxpayer funds used by the Democrats to pay for votes. If they want to abuse the system in this way, be prepared for it to be abused.

  • KennyM

    It’s not a question of need. Until this was stopped in Michigan, ANY student could get this. Eligability was dtermined by the student’s income, whcih is alwys low. Studnet’s with rich parents could get this.

  • Mike

    One would think they may want to try working. You know like they should be planning on doing after they have been fully indoctrinated and in debt from the outstanding educational institution they will not be paying the rest of their lives.

  • Truthitude

    Blacks have no shame. None. Proves they’re not human. Gibbs me dat.

  • nofriendofMom


    It would be interesting to find out how many people that are on any Government assistance program, like Food Stamps, WIC, unemployment etc. have all that.

  • BigLouie15

    The Big Zero should now have a lot of these college graduates helping at his field offices if they bring in meals for the workers. They voted for him and he promised them jobs. Now they are getting paid back with food stamps. But wait, he will come up with a new program to forgive their debts if they go to work for the government but they will be fooled here as their debt will be added to the trillions he is already racking up for them to pay back in the future.

  • mantlebuck

    An unbelievable waste of taxpayer money. We have the most spoiled kids in the whole world. Time for a business man to become President and get rid of the welfare President.

  • Barry bin Inhalin

    Food Stamps were never intended for college students. The program is very, very broken. If yo ucan’t afford college, DROP OUT, get a job, SAVE your money and then go back when you can afford.

    I DO NOT want to pay for some overpaid liberal professor to preach how bad I am as a sucessful American to some snot nose who can’t afford the price of the ticket. College has become like afterschool daycare. Get a job washing dishes.

    • Neil McCauley

      I agree. If you cant afford it, you cant get it. I pay cash for everything, never had any bills, never will. I save up for things I want; took me a year+ to save up for a 70 chevelle, but I was able to do it. Paid cash. Took my a year to save up for an assault rifle, I was able to do it. Paid cash. Went to community college, then to state college; commuted both to both places. I am angry college was a waste (still no full time job), but not in a any debt at all.

      • Neil McCauley

        Oh ya, and Ive worked on a farm since I was 16; 11 years now, yet the only people companies hire are lazy jagoffs, low iq morons, excons, minorities, or women who cant do the job and get fired/quit after a few weeks. However, the kid with the perfect work ethic, no debt, no convictions, a degree, does not get hired at all. Bizzaro world we live in, everything is the opposite. You are rewarded for weakness and failure and punished for hard work. I would love to live in Switzerland.

  • Uninvited

    This is necessary for the mainstreaming of dependency.

    What hope would there be for our totalitarian society, if there existed a sense of shame for being unwilling to be self-sufficient.

  • Kevin Pearson

    This is nothing new, I remember Bobby Herbert said that the last few months between the end of football season his senior year and when he reported for camp in the NFL his family received food stamps, he was married with kids. That was nearly 30 years ago.
    But what I don’t understand is the statement t “$1700 for a basic meal plan, is more than most students can afford”. That is included in the projected costs of education that are used to calculate any financial aid packages, so if they are receiving financial aid, then I don’t understand how they cannot afford it.

  • Douglas Lynn

    What is the difference whether colleges get federal grant money or college kids get food stamps? It is all welfare provided by someone else’s labor. The country will go bankrupt in the next decade or two and all this will abruptly stop.

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