9 Million College-Educated Adults Received Government Assistance

May 13, 2021

Roughly nine million college-educated adults received government assistance in 2017, the United States Census Bureau has reported. The majority of adult recipients of the government programs investigated -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Supplemental Security Income; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families -- had only a high school degree or less.

Educational attainment varied across programs. In some programs, roughly one-third of recipients had attended at least some college. People with a bachelor’s degree made up 10 percent of WIC recipients, 7.9 percent of SSI recipients, 7.6 percent of SNAP recipients and 5.5 percent of TANF recipients.

Of the recipients who went to college, a majority had no degree. In three of the four programs, recipients were more likely to be bachelor’s degree holders than to have only attained an associate degree.

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