This study explores the relationship between reliance on a supplementary food program and higher education access through the GI Bill in post 9/11 US veterans.
Many veterans rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We study the change in the veterans’ reliance on SNAP in response to the GI Bill, the veterans’ financial aid for higher education. Using the unanticipated increase in educational benefits due to the Post-9/11 GI Bill and employing a difference-in-differences approach, we estimate that the benefit increase lowered veteran SNAP participation by about 28%, the effect being larger among new veterans. These findings reflect changes in the veterans’ choices that are attributable to wealth effects, SNAP eligibility criteria, and human capital accumulation. SNAP eligibility typically expires when the veteran attends college, and a larger educational benefit increases the veterans’ probability of college attendance. Furthermore, a college degree increases future earnings, which reduces the veterans’ SNAP reliance in the longer run. Quantifying these relationships provides insights into how financial aid for education in general improves veterans’ economic well-being and may help break some veterans’ dependence on SNAP and similar welfare programs.
Ghosh, P., Pal, S., & Negrusa, S. (2021). Spillover Effects of Financial Aid for Education: Does Post-9/11 GI Bill Reduce Veteran SNAP Participation?. Journal of Veterans Studies, 6(3), 110–122. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jvs.v6i3.203