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Gov. Brown Signs CA State Budget Approves $7.5 Million for “Hunger-Free College Campuses”

SACRAMENTO –  Governor Brown and the California State Legislature sign a budget allocating $7.5 million in support of Hunger-Free College Campuses.  These funds will provide an  incentive to public colleges across the state for initiatives addressing  college student hunger.

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This $7.5 million investment will provide the UC, CSU, and California Community College Systems each a one-time $2.5 million award to develop student meal credit sharing programs known as Swipe Out Hunger, create campus food pantries, and designate employees to assist students with the otherwise outdated CalFresh enrollment process.

This budget investment supports the goal of AB 453, the Hunger-Free Campus Bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Limon (D-Santa Barbara). “I applaud the Legislature and for approving my initiative to support innovative programs and continue current investments that lessen student hunger,” said Limón. “Student hunger on college campuses is a real problem that I saw in my 14 years at both UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College. The Hunger Free Campus incentive funding in this year’s budget will make a real difference in the lives of students by giving them the best opportunity to complete their degrees on time.”

Basic needs such as access to food shouldn’t stand in the way of a diploma.” said Rachel Sumekh, Executive Director of Swipe Out Hunger. “We know food-insecure students are 52% more likely to skip class as a result of their hunger. There’s an opportunity for us to make an impact here.”

Sumekh was the architect of the bill. 

Hunger Among Low-Income College Students 

Emerging research show a high prevalence of food insecurity and hunger on California’s College campuses. Nationally, there are more than 700 universities with food pantries on campus.

A study conducted in 2013 of Pell Grant recipients at California State University Sacramento found that 23% of these students from low-income families experience at least one day each month in which they go without food and 12% reported having unintentionally lost weight because they could not afford food. These findings are consistent with findings from other research documenting a prevalence of hunger among college students.

University of California (10 campuses) 

– Each campus is eligible to receive up to $250,000  ($2.5 million available amongst the 10 campuses) – Each University of California already has many of these programs and the system influenced much of AB 453’s recommendations. – 42% of UC students reported experiencing food insecurity at some point in the year. 23% report an ongoing lack of access to food. 

California State University (23 campuses) 

– Each campus is eligible to receive up to $108,695.65 ($2.5 million available amongst the 23 campuses) – Campuses such as CSU Fullerton, Humboldt State and a handful of others have been proactive in the recommended approaches already.  – One in five CSU students experience hunger and one in ten experience homelessness.

California Community Colleges (114 campuses) 

– Each campus is eligible to receive up to $21,929.82 ($2.5 million available amongst the 114 campuses) – Need is highest on these campuses. Two out of three students report food insecurity.  – These campuses are not obliged to establish meal-point-donation programs as they often do not have meal plans or residential programs. 

ARE YOU A LEADER AT YOUR CAL STATE OR COMMUNITY COLLEGE?

Get updates for support on starting these programs and receiving this funding by emailing rachel@swipehunger.org.

Support for AB 453

Swipe Out Hunger (Sponsor)
Western Center on Law and Poverty (Sponsor)
Young Invincibles (Sponsor)
California Food Policy Advocates
Gavin Newsom, California Lieutenant Governor
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

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