A bill to address hunger among college students has been introduced by a local lawmaker. 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes proposed the Closing the College Hunger Gap Act to eliminate food insecurity among young adults. The bill directs the Secretary of Education to notify college students of their eligibility for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, using FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid information.
Prior to the pandemic, nearly a quarter of students at UConn reported concerns of food insecurity and around 30 percent reported skipping meals to save money. 18 percent of the student body at Connecticut State Colleges and Universities reported housing instability or homelessness.
Hayes says college student hunger soared during COVID-19. After the start of the pandemic, 38 percent of students said they regularly missed meals because they were less hungry or stressed, and 36 percent of students reported knowing someone who has dropped out due to food insecurity during the pandemic.
A recent Government Accountability Office study showed that over two million at-risk students whom were potentially eligible for SNAP benefits did not report receiving benefits in recent years.