(From Press Release) – Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would ensure low-income college students have reliable access to nutritious food through the Cal Fresh program cleared the Senate Human Services Committee today.
“Getting a college education shouldn’t mean going hungry,” Sen. Dodd said. “My bill responds to what has become an increasing problem on college campuses today by making it easier for students of modest means to get food through public assistance.”
The inability to afford food – or food insecurity — is a top concern among college students. A recent Government Accountability Office report shows a third of all college student are struggling to afford food and basic nutrition. It recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service take steps to enroll people in federal food assistance programs.
Senate Bill 173 addresses the problem on a state level by removing barriers to students to get subsidies under Cal Fresh, in part by streamlining the application process. More than 50,000 California college students could be enrolled in food assistance thanks to the senator’s legislation.
The California Welfare Directors Association, the County of Yolo, student groups and area food banks support the bill. It moves next to Senate Appropriations.
“This bill will help reduce hunger among college students and enable them to focus on their studies rather than where their next meal will come from,” said Cathy Senderling-McDonald, deputy executive director of the California Welfare Directors Association.
“Students shouldn’t be forced to make the heartbreaking choice between getting an education and eating,” Sen. Dodd said. “Hunger is a serious problem on college campuses across the state and my bill takes an important step toward putting food on the table.”
“Food insecurity is a growing crisis on our college campuses,” said Don Saylor, chairman of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. “This bill will help combat student hunger by ensuring students have the necessary documentation to verify their potential eligibility to receive federally funded Cal Fresh benefits.”