Southwestern College Food Services to Accept SNAP/EBT Payments 

A student walks into the Tradewinds Cafe.
The Tradewinds Café on the Chula Vista campus.

Southwestern College will soon accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and EBT payments at its on-campus food services, Time Out Cafe and Tradewinds. Southwestern College will be the only college in the region to accept SNAP/EBT payments, formerly known as food stamps, for its district-run food services. 

The program will be rolled out over the summer with full implementation by the beginning of the fall 2022 semester. Students will be able to purchase food products using their SNAP/EBT benefits at the Time Out Cafe and Tradewinds and future district food services, like the cafeteria when it reopens. 

The process to accept SNAP/EBT payments was a two-year journey, led by Governing Board Member Leticia Cazares and Dr. Kelly Hall, assistant superintendent/vice president of business and financial affairs. 

“We have an obligation to do what we can to make sure all of our students have an affordable and nutritious meal when they come here to take classes,” Dr. Hall said. “It was an equity issue and I felt like we really need to make this work to help support our students.” 

Dr. Hall said student data showed that students were staying on campus an average of five to six hours a day.

“We all know that our students are not going to learn to their maximum potential if they’re hungry and they don’t have access to a nutritious meal,” Dr. Hall said. “For me, it was really important to be able to provide a nutritious and affordable meal because our students spend so much time on our campus. This is another way we can remove a roadblock to success that doesn’t need to be there.”

The SNAP/EBT system will be integrated into the college’s payment system, meaning that students will pay using their SNAP/EBT card in the exact same way as debit and or credit cards.

The district’s SNAP/EBT program is part of Southwestern College’s transformation of student services to include basic needs support, including SWC Cares, the Jag Kitchen, housing assistance, technology assistance and more. Students can learn more about basic needs services at the district’s SWC Cares website

SNAP is a government program that helps people buy food. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. For more information on SNAP and local food assistance programs, including how to apply, visit San Diego County’s website.