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USDA Designation to Use FAFSA data

Publication Date
Resource type
Training and Outreach
Resource Materials

Stacy Dean
Deputy Under Secretary
Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services
United States Department of Agriculture

Dear Deputy Under Secretary Dean:

This letter is to inform you that 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 the 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 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. 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. ED will notify the higher education community of this designation of the USDA.

With this designation, ED will email students who have an EFC of 0. The email communication may be used by local and state SNAP agencies to confirm a 0 EFC as one part of applicant eligibility for the SNAP program. 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.

ED looks forward to this collaboration with USDA to benefit eligible applicants.

Cynthia Hammond
Director, Policy Implementation and Liaison
Partner Participation and Oversight

Page updated: April 05, 2023