Monday, April 2, 2018

Students’ math and reading performance improve soon after receiving SNAP benefits

Although social policies aimed at low-income families are thought to promote children’s educational success, little research has examined how these policies are related to children’s academic achievement.

This article focuses on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the United States’ largest food assistance program. Using administrative data on over 148,000 SNAP-receiving public school children, the study analyzes the recency of SNAP benefit transfer and children’s end-of-grade math and reading achievement test scores.

Results indicate differences in students’ math and reading performance based on the recency of SNAP benefit transfer. Although the relationship is stronger for reading than for math, the relationship between students’ test scores and SNAP transfer is roughly curvilinear. Test scores peak in the third week following benefit transfer.

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