Senator Dodd Introduces College Student Hunger Bill

Nearly one in three California college students faces food and housing insecurity, according to a survey by the California Student Aid Commission. Students of color are more likely than others to report needs in both areas, the survey said.

Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced this week his new legislation to get food aid to low-income college students, ensuring the underserved population has adequate food and nutrition.

“Unfortunately, chronic hunger is far too common on our campuses today,” said Sen. Dodd. “My bill puts food on the table for those who are struggling, helping more Californians achieve their educational and career goals. It’s no secret that going to college is expensive, but students shouldn’t have to starve to advance their education.”

Senate Bill 20 will improve existing student aid forms to help identify Cal Fresh eligibility and ensure students are proactively informed of their benefits. Many low-income students are not aware that they may qualify for food assistance through Cal Fresh. About 100,000 students would benefit from the proposal. It is a follow-up to SB 173, written in 2019 by Sen. Dodd, which streamlined the Cal Fresh application process for college students enrolled in work-study. That bill was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Sponsors of SB 20 include the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations and the University of California Student Association.

“This legislation is designed to address some of the massive hunger being experienced by many students in Sacramento and the surrounding counties due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Kevin Aslanian, executive director of the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations.

He added: “We are very excited that Sen. Dodd has agreed to author a bill to address hunger insecurity in Sacramento and the surrounding counties.”

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