The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has designated the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), under section 483(a)(3)(E) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), as an entity that may use Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) data. Under Section 483(a)(3)(E) of the HEA, data collected through the FAFSA may only be used for the application, award, and administration of HEA, Title IV program aid, State aid, or aid awarded by eligible institutions or entities designated by the ED.
ED designated USDA as an entity that supports the awarding of a Federal benefit program (aid) in the form of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for the purpose of receiving certain data from the FAFSA for a limited period. The FAFSA data, specifically the expected family contribution (EFC) and Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program eligibility, along with the FAFSA applicant’s email address, can be used to communicate with students about their possible eligibility for the temporary expansion of SNAP benefits.
This Electronic Announcement informs the community about ED’s designation of the USDA. ED will email students who have an EFC of 0. Students may present the email communication to local and State SNAP agencies. Agencies may decide to use the student email as confirmation that the individual has a 0 EFC. The email communication will not confirm eligibility for the FWS Program as the campus-based programs are administered by each participating institution. Institutions of Higher Education may use information from the FAFSA, in combination with their packaging policies, to provide confirmation of FWS eligibility to students or their local or State SNAP agency.
For background information and guidance on the temporary expansion of SNAP benefits for post-secondary education students, please see our February 23, 2021 Electronic Announcement.