June 01, 2017
Contact: Swipe Out Hunger

Assembly Approves Legislation to Address College Student Hunger

AB 453 establishes standards and creates incentives to encourage a statewide expansion of student meal sharing programs on public college campuses. 

May 31, 2017


SACRAMENTO – The Assembly today passed legislation by Assemb. Limon, D-Santa Barbara, that would provide an incentive to schools that are addressing hunger faced by their students.  

AB 453 was passed with bi-partisan support in both Assembly policy and appropriations committees and has no opposition. 

The bill seeks to reduce hunger among low-income Californians who are attending college by establishing a “Food Insecure-Free Campus” designation that would encourage and incentivize anti-hunger efforts on California’s public university campuses. 

"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." 

Hunger Among Low-Income College Students  

  • Emerging research shows a high prevalence of food insecurity and hunger on California’s College campuses. Nationally, there are more than 400 universities with food pantries on campus.
Some stats:
  • According to California State University (CSU), one in five CSU students experience hunger and one in ten experience homelessness.
  • One in five University of California (UC) students do not have access to adequate food or nutrition.
  • A nationwide report shows that half of all community college students are struggling with housing and/or food insecurity. 
  • 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. 


Encourage Campus Anti-Hunger Efforts

AB 453 will encourage college campuses to pursue on-campus anti-hunger efforts by establishing a “Hunger Free Campus” certification for colleges that: 

  1. Establish a Swipe Out Hunger program which encourage college students to donate unused meal credits to students who need them and then, remaining benefits to be donated to the on campus food pantry. 
  2. Establish an on-campus pantry or partner with a local food bank to provide regular on-campus food distributions.  
  3. Designate a person on campus to make sure that the students on campus have access to accurate information about CalFresh and how to apply. 


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



For Press Contact: 

Marissa Schnitman 

Community manager, Swipe Out Hunger



For More Information on Legislation: 

Jessica Bartholow

Legislative Advocate, Western Center on Law and Poverty



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