Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that addresses the growing problem of college student food insecurity by ensuring low-income students have reliable access to nutritious food through the Cal Fresh program was signed into law today by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“Food insecurity is a serious problem on California college campuses today and this is an important step to addressing it,” Sen. Dodd said. “My bill will ensure students of modest means don’t go hungry by making it easier for them to receive public assistance. Students shouldn’t have to starve in order to get an education.”
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 removes 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.
“Sadly, ‘starving students’ is more than a cliché for many food insecure California college students,” said Don Saylor, chair of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. “We applaud Sen. Dodd for his leadership in combating student hunger on college campuses.”