Reps. Chu and Marshall Introduce Bipartisan College Hunger Bill
Washington, DC — A bipartisan bill to help food insecure college students was introduced today by Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27) and Roger Marshall (KS-01). The Campus Hunger Reduction Act of 2019 makes institutions of higher education eligible for the Community Food Projects grant program, a grant through the US Department of Agriculture that helps nonprofits and public agencies address hunger through food distribution, outreach, increased self-reliance, and more. Currently, institutions of higher education are ineligible for the program despite the pervasiveness of hunger among college students. Reps. Chu and Marshall released the following statements:
“Most students can't buy their way into college. In fact, we now know that too many students can't even afford enough to eat in college. That includes about 60% in the Los Angeles Community College District. For too long, the problem of hunger on campus was an invisible one. Now, we have government research confirming the existence of this crisis. In a December 2018 study, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed data from 31 different campus surveys and concluded that 22 of the 31 studies found food insecurity rates above 30%. Additional studies have found that 36% of four-year college and university students and 42% of two-year community college students reported not having enough food to eat, and 12% of community college students and 6% of university students reported not eating for an entire day,” said Rep. Chu. “This isn’t just a moral concern. Hungry students are also at a disadvantage in class where they have a harder time paying attention and meeting their full potential. Our obligation to ensuring nobody goes hungry does not vanish when they enter college. That is what this bill is meant to address by extending this existing grant program to include institutes of higher education.”
"Students transitioning into college will face a lot of new challenges and uncertainties, but having access to food should never be one of them," said Rep. Marshall. "We have organizations ready to partner with our colleges and universities to make sure that every student has access to the nutritious meals they need to perform their best in the classroom. Studies show that more than 35 percent of students at four-year universities, and over 40 percent of students at community colleges experienced food insecurity last year. Our nation’s undergraduates should be focused on their studies, their goals, and their future, not the uncertainty of their next meal. This month is National Nutrition Month, and absolutely no better time for Congress to pass the Campus Hunger Reduction Act of 2019. We must enable our colleges and universities to build out programs and partnerships to alleviate hunger among the students they serve.”
The Campus Hunger Reduction Act of 2019 is supported by Feeding America, Swipe Out Hunger, MAZON: The Jewish Response to Hunger, the College and University Food Bank Alliance, the Food Recovery Network, and U.S. PIRG.