TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras launched a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) auto-enrollment program for approximately 10,000 SUNY students facing food insecurity. This comes in response to the expansion of the program by Governor Andrew Cuomo in October 2020. An internal survey of SUNY students showed that only 23% of eligible students considered even enrolling in SNAP.

In order to be eligible for SNAP auto-enrollment, students must be engaged at least half-time in career and technical education program, remedial course, basic adult education, literacy, or English as a second language. Previously, these students did not qualify for SNAP assistance, unless they met certain criteria such as working at least 20 hours per week, caring for a child, or were unable to work, among others. The new New York State rules allow students to substitute certain coursework for the 20-hour work requirement, opening eligibility to students.

“Within our Educational Opportunity Centers alone, 50 percent of our students have suffered from food insecurity at some point, which is why SUNY is tackling this issue on multiple fronts whether it is having food pantries on or near campuses to today’s important program of automatically enrolling eligible students into the SNAP program,” said Chancellor Malatras. “Today’s expansion will allow our dedicated students to focus on their academic pursuits and career goals instead of where they will get their next meal… No one should have to choose between hunger and the hope of pursuing an education.”