AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A new bill was recently sponsored in both the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives which, if passed, would allow low-income students of higher education institutions to have access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
According to a news release from Feeding Texas, Texas Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) and Texas Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston) recently filed companion bills that would help give access to SNAP to low-income college students. The bill would instruct the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to identify vocational and technical degree programs so students in the programs can receive the benefits.
“College students in Texas should not have to choose between food and education,” Celia Cole, the CEO of Feeding Texas, said in the release. “We commend Senator West and Representative Walle for taking up this cause. The legislature must act to ensure students can continue to access the food assistance they need to finish their degrees and go on to gainful employment.”
According to the bill filed in the Texas Senate, the bill would also ensure a student would remain eligible for the benefits during a break in the semester or academic term. If passed, the act would go into effect in September.
This comes as expanded SNAP benefits because of the COVID-19 pandemic are set to end later this year. According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, February 2023 is expected to be the last month that eligible households can receive emergency SNAP benefits. In January, more than $344.1 million in emergency benefits were allocated, which is expected to help around 1.6 million Texas households.
The SNAP program is also expected to expire, or has already expired, in other states across the country, including Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, according to previous Reports on MyHighPlains.com.
“Our workforce depends on students graduating with the skills and training they need to succeed,” West said in the release. “College tuition costs are rising, and with current inflation, so are the costs of housing, food, and other necessities. Even the price of eggs has skyrocketed to over $7 a carton. Eliminating hunger on Texas college campuses is critical to ensure our workforce remains strong and our future leaders thrive.”