Rep. Lawson Introduces Bill to Curb Hunger on College Campuses
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-5) introduced the “College Student Hunger Act of 2017” that would provide SNAP benefits to the neediest of college students.
“Across the country, students attend colleges and universities with the hopes of climbing the economic ladder, providing for their families, and working to meet new challenges with ingenuity and expertise,” said Rep. Lawson. “Unfortunately, the cost of college has increased significantly in the last decade and for many Americans this avenue to a brighter future has become unaffordable. We can’t have students forced to make hard choices between paying for food over books, or for transportation over necessities. This bill aims to help students get the assistance they need in order to be successful.”
Aside from few exceptions, college students enrolled half-time or more cannot receive SNAP and this legislation would allow these students eligibility if they receive the maximum Pell Grant award, are in foster care, a veteran of the Armed Forces, or are classified as an unaccompanied youth who is homeless. Rep. Lawson’s bill would provide SNAP benefits to the neediest of college students, who are not currently eligible for the most effective anti-hunger program in the country.
In Florida’s 5th Congressional District, several higher educational institutions such as the University of North Florida, Tallahassee and North Florida Community Colleges, Florida A&M University, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Florida Gateway College, among others, have adopted a deliberate response against hunger by opening food banks on campus.
This bill is one part of a broader initiative by Rep. Lawson called the “Let’s Feed America Campaign” to help curb hunger and food insecurity in North Florida, and on college campuses throughout America. You can read the full initiative here and the section dedicated to college students here.
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and an enthusiastic thought leader on the Nutrition Subcommittee, Rep. Lawson launched this campaign to alleviate and address hunger in America.