Some Missouri college students struggle to make ends meet while they are going to school, working, taking care of their family, and participating in activities. Missouri Family Support Division Director Kim Evans said there are five government benefits every college student should know about, including Medicaid healthcare.

“This Medicaid coverage helps cover like doctor’s office visits, urgent care, emergency, and then also hospital stays. You know, it helps with the kids getting their vaccinations. There’s also a program in there for pregnant women,” said Evans. “For pregnant women, we cover all of the prenatal and the maternity care through the pregnancy. Our General Assembly just approved for us to extend the postpartum care from 60 days to 12 months.”

The baby who is born to a mother receiving Medicaid coverage is automatically provided government-funded healthcare for 12 months.

To qualify, students must live in Missouri, be 19-64 years old, and the income limit is $19,391.

Another program to help college students make ends meet is the SNAP program, otherwise referred to as food stamps.

“I would suggest that, you know, folks go ahead and apply, if you’re interested in the program because there are deductions that we can take. We look at for the SNAP program, we look at housing expenses, we look at childcare deductions, we look at medical deductions that you might have, so that reduces your income, which may make you eligible for some benefits,” said Evans. “The benefits go on to a card, sort of like a debit card. And what it is is it supplements a food budget, so it’s not there to provide all of your food needs but to supplement you in additional food that you need. It is a program, it also provides access to the skill up program – that is a workforce training.”

Those who qualify must live in Missouri, have a gross income limit of $17,676, and fulfill work requirements by attending school, working, or exempt if they are a caretaker. There is also a resource limit.

According to Evans, Medicaid applications are required to be processed within 45 days. For SNAP, it’s 30 days.

Childcare grants are also available to those who qualify.

“Childcare could be a big problem for a student,” she said. “We will cover like before school care, after school care, or full-time care. It is based on your schedule. Then you might have to pay a sliding fee depending on your income, so usually the sliding fees are not very much at all. But we also have day and nighttime care.”

Evans encourages students to have a childcare provider in mind that accepts the state aid.

To qualify, recipients must live in Missouri and the income limit is $20,385.

Cash assistance is available to very low-income residents.

“It also gives you access to our workforce assistance program that can help with job training. Maybe you need to learn some skills on interviewing, or how to look for a job, things like that. It does come with that. Your resources have to be under $1,000,” she said.

Requirements include living in Missouri, being a parent, making no more than $1,632 per year and having resources under $1,000.

College students can also get help with their electric and water bills.

“So what it helps is with the utility part of that,” said Evans. “If you are in a shut off situation, there are some emergency benefits that are available.”

For more information, go to or go to a resource center found in each Missouri county.

Copyright © 2023