Judy Chu Aims to Help Millions of College Students at Risk of Food Insecurity
A new report from the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog, shows that there are potentially millions of students at risk of being food insecure. Essentially, they do not have access to nutritious, affordable food. Despite the federal government spending billions of dollars on higher education each year, the report finds that some students are at risk of dropping out because they cannot eat, although there isn’t good data on just how many. Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, aims to address the issue. “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,” Chu said. She introduced a bipartisan bill on Wednesday to help food insecure college students. The Campus Hunger Reduction Act, which she introduced with Congressman Roger Marshall (R-KS), would make institutions of higher education eligible for the Community Food Projects grant program -- a grant through the 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. “For too long, the problem of hunger on campus was an invisible one. Now, we have government research confirming the existence of this crisis,” Chu stated. She cited studies that have found that 36% of four-year college/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. “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,” she said. “Our obligation to ensuring nobody goes hungry does not vanish when they enter college.” More here.