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Almost 8,000 University of Hawaiʻi students may now be newly eligible to secure resources to buy groceries, remain enrolled in courses and earn a college degree.

The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, has been expanded as part of the sweeping relief package, known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) 2021. This allows college students to more easily access the program, by temporarily removing some eligibility requirements. The Department of Human Services’ Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division administers the program in Hawaiʻi.

The CAA provides new exemptions to the regular federal criteria for students to be eligible for SNAP support for food. One new way that students can become eligible is to have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 as determined by the US Department of Education when students submit their financial aid application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA). In addition, students eligible for Federal Work Study, awarded via the financial aid process, are also now eligible for SNAP without work requirement.

“It is so important to our students’ well-being that they have the basic necessities they need to learn and thrive. We know that we have thousands of UH students with an estimated family contribution of zero,” said UH President David Lassner. “We urge them and other students who may qualify for this important expanded assistance to reach out for guidance from their respective campuses.”

UH contacts for more information or questions are as follows:

  • UH Community Colleges: HINET System Office at or (808) 235-7348.
  • UH Mānoa: Student Parents At Manoa (SP@M) (Note: You do not need to be a student parent to receive assistance.)
  • UH Hilo: Campus and Community Services, (808) 932-7796,
  • UH West Oʻahu: Jan Javinar, interim vice chancellor of student affairs, (808) 689-2671,

The Century Foundation estimates that, under the CAA, 3 million more students nationwide have become eligible for assistance.

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