In the December relief package, Congress increased the number of low-income college students eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for the duration of the pandemic. That included students who are eligible for work study, have an expected family contribution of zero dollars, or qualify for a maximum Pell Grant on their federal financial aid form. According to The Century Foundation, this expansion affects about 3 million college students.
The legislation proposed Tuesday would make these changes permanent, including requiring the U.S. Education Department to notify students that they may be eligible for SNAP when they fill out their student aid applications. The bill would also require the department to collect data on hunger and food insecurity and would create a $1 billion-a-year grant program for institutions to address hunger on campus.
“Far too many college students struggle to meet their basic needs while they get their education and the pandemic has made this problem even worse,” Warren said in a statement to NPR. “As students take on a mountain of student loan debt, they shouldn’t have to choose between paying tuition and eating.”
The push comes amid new research that shows 39% of two-year college students are facing food insecurity; for students at four-year schools the number affected is 29%, according to Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community and Justice.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction