tv Roundtable on Hunger on College Campuses CSPAN February 4, 2022 8:00pm-10:15pm EST
>> college students who worry about food often see their grades take a hit. it can take them longer to graduate and food insecurity texas toll on -- even before the pandemic, college students faced food insecurity at above average rates. now, pandemic related campus shutdowns have caused the rate of hunger to nearly double in some states. in january, certain student restrictions to snap eligibility such as being enrolled more than half time, were temporarily
lifted. but as more campuses reopen, more feed resources should become available. this is even more important for many college students who were nontraditional low income, or first generation students. they must meet other challenges while pursuing a degree like being a single parent, support independence, or working full time while attending class. many students need to prioritize other family member needs over their own including food. so today we will hear from individuals and groups doing advocacy work on diversity campuses across the country. i believe we should be making a commitment to students who are doing everything they can to gain an education and achieve their goals. this issue of college hunger is not new. in terms of our discussing it it is relatively new. so this has been a problem for a long time.
and i want to applaud those colleges that are taking the lead in trying to mitigate some of the challenges that students face when they come onto campus who are struggling to make sure they have enough to eat. but there is a lot more we need to do. as we prepare, this needs to be part of this discussion. i think there is a bigger role on the federal level that we can play to help deal with this issue. i believe no one in this country should be hungry. my eyes have opened up as i have talked to many students, many college presidents and many teachers and advocacy organizations on behalf of students who struggle, about the extent of this. by the way, it is not just on
campuses of community colleges or state colleges. some of our moat elite institutions have students who struggle with hunger. now let me turn to our witnesses today. the director of strategic initiatives at the university of california berkeley. he is a national expert on food insecurity and the policies that address the issue. sarah is the president and founder for the hope center for college community and justice at temple university. her innovative reserves on college student basic needs sparked the national hashtag, #realcollegemovement. dr. joseph is the acting director of the office of counseling and career placement services at allen university. he started the first food pantry in april of 2019. which has since provided over 2800 food bags to students on
campus. dr. alicia powers is the managing director at the hunger solutions institute at armen university. today her leadership draws on her experience coordinating and evaluating policies, systems and environmental approaches to food -- donate excess dining hall passes to their peers and has expanded since then. i am grateful to all of you for being here. this is an important topic and we will begin with -- i will yield to you now. >> thank you so much and good morning. it is an honor and a pleasure to
be here with you all joining in live from the bay area. shout out to the bay and all the people that have a special heart for the bay. i am so grateful to be here with you all. i want to invite all generations of students and folks dedicated to students past, present and future who have made this possible because it was community and organizing that really mobilized us to be here today. i want to start by sharing my awe at the pace this happened. all of a sudden i got an invitation to this fancy space and i see a letter signed by so many chair folks calling president biden to make this national conference a reality, to finally eradicate hunger out of america. so i am in awe of the pace we are moving because i vividly remember when i was in high school and despite me being involved in all of the federally
funded state funding, accelerated programs, after school programs, the whole works , i never had a conversation with anyone at any point about basic needs in college. all the conversations and all those programs are always about what college was going to be liked, how to apply to college, but no one ever prepared us to navigate our basic needs. even when i received a fulbright scholarship to attend uc berkeley i was told we did not have anything to worry about when i got to uc berkeley i was told my scholarship was not going to cover my basic needs year-round and i could also not work. so that was a huge issue for myself and for my families who i had earned the right to contribute to our families through martial arts teaching karate with my father. but i can no longer do that because of financial aid policies. when i would go and ask in terms of academic counselors, faculty,
staff, administrators, they would just share with me their stories. some of them would share that 5, 10, 20 years ago they had the same issues with the food and whether housing and medical and health care needs. never did a professor in the academic setting ever ask us as a what was our capacity and adjust it in an equitable manner according to our capacities, the workload, the midterms, the finals. never. even though they knew that some of my peers were legacy, multigenerational wealthy students whose only responsibility was to go to class. to this day i do not know of any college or university that has equity centered academic policy. things are even more challenging today for our students. not only are they navigating these basic needs challenges and academic rigor but they also have challenges of environmental catastrophe, compound pandemics and extreme political swings
that impact budgets and decision-making about their day-to-day lives with no navigational training before getting into college. thankfully over the last 13 years now, time flies and a fascinating way, especially in a pandemic. but now it is a completely different reality. our new vice chancellor actively shared their own lived experience as a priority. all new admins at berkeley receive a message from our basic needs center staff to make sure they understand that through their nonlinear experience of basic needs we are going to be there to support them. this is not just happening at berkeley, it is happening across all 10 uc campuses. we have a systemwide committee that is coordinating research, sustainability, and advocacy across those canvases. our student rising lists basic needs as a priority. our office of the president and our uc regions are at the forefront of this conversation
working with us, and we created the california higher ed basic needs alliance to bring together california community colleges, california state university's, and university of california system to work together to build trusting relationships with state department, committees, associations, coalitions, and do this work together. basic needs is not an area of competition and institutional ego and isolation. this is a community that is lifting possibilities. i want to wrap my times a week and transition into conversations by leaving you with all the possibilities. we need to name college students among our federal populations among side children, single-parent, veterans, and elderly, because college students have identities that are all of those. we also need to be intentional about designing the federal departments centering college students. because you do not just copy and paste college students and think
the existing ecosystem is built for them because it simply is not. there are a lot of possibilities that we can develop by centering the college experience. and let's remind ourselves, a lot of our college students are translators and a sister is for our peers and communities as they apply for these programs. the last thing is to think about how do we prevent and not just address crisis resolution. we invest by doubling the pell for undergraduates and reminding ourselves that graduate students will not benefit from doubling the pell grant. in closing, i am super excited to continue our relationships and to organize with one another. i hope that we can be part of the conversation that will shape this national conference, but what i am more excited about is the journey beyond the conference and how we are going to bring medicine and transformative possibilities moving forward. college students are not trying to be placed in a higher ranking
level of the higher value. we want all solutions to be for all people at all times moving together. thank you all so much for this information. i am super excited for our quality time together as we work towards ending hunger together as a community. >> thank you. >> good morning chairman, ranking member, and distinguished members of the community. thank you so much for your commitment to highlighting and taking bold action to end hunger on college campuses. the opportunity to speak today is a great sign of progress and a true honor. i am the founder and president of the hope center for college community and just as, and i am also professor of sociology and medicine at the lewis school of medicine at temple university. the hope center's primary expertise is in basic needs of security including food security among college students. having been deeply engaged in
this work for more than 20 years, i can assure you the basic needs and security in higher education, particularly food insecurity and hunger, is real, it is pervasive, and it is something that we can absolutely solve with the right combination of political will and strategic investment. my team's real college survey is the nation's largest annual assessment of student's basic needs. over the last six years, it has been completed by more than 500,000 students across the nation. we consistently find that about one in three undergraduates experiences food insecurity. students at community and technical colleges and those attending historically black colleges and universities and tribal colleges and universities are at the highest risk. rates of food insecurity are also higher among african-americans, latinx
students, indigenous, and native students. students with children experience higher rates of food insecurity during college than students without kids. rates of food insecurity are also much higher among students over 25, lgbtq students, veteran students, former foster youth, and students who are pursuing college after incarceration. long before the pandemic struck, higher education and safety net policies failed to address the new economics of college, and evolve with the students they are supposed to serve. public benefits programs like snap are a critical tool, but most food insecure students do not get snap benefits. largely due to restrictions on who can access them, and difficulty applying. even students who are deemed eligible for snap or other supports are often blocked by complex bureaucracies and administrative burden.
many colleges and universities are doing what they can, and going beyond food pantries. this is important because while campus food pantries can help draw attention to the problem, they are not effective in reducing food insecurity. centralizing access to public benefits, emergency aid case management services, and a food pantry in one location is a promising approach. evaluations of models like single stock in a resource center show that with their basic needs addressed, students have a substantially greater likelihood of success in college. recognizing that the national school lunch program abruptly ends with a -- when a student finishes high school, some colleges and universities provide free meals. compton college in los angeles partnered with every table to offer free, healthy take away meals. following a hunger strike, the university of kentucky partnered
with -- to open the one community cafe which served to go meals for $1. in its first year, it fed about 24,000 students. students have had to engage in hunger strikes in order to get help elsewhere, too, including at spelman and morehouse. a community in new hampshire recently began providing free daily breakfast and lunch, and one dinner per week, to all enrolled students. and this month, another community college in missouri expanded its free breakfast program to all of its campuses. bottom line, the science suggests that these efforts work. the hope center evaluated a meal voucher program and found it boosted payments, likely improved student's well-being,
and reduce the severity of food insecurity. emergency cash assistance is another promising approach. it offers students the dignity of choice, while helping them address their basic needs. our latest survey that having more or better food to eat was one of the top five most cited cases of emergency thought. in partnership with the american federation of teachers, the nonprofit operates a fast button, engaging faculty to distribute emergency aid in a compassionate and rapid manner. compton college, dallas coverage -- college, western governors university, and many others offer fast and easy access to emergency funds 24/7, using an app called equity. among the more than 97,000 students at 18 institutions who have applied using that app this year, an estimated 44% were food insecure.
an initial evaluation suggests students who received just $250 in emergency aid were twice as likely to graduate. these initial actions are a good start but they are not nearly enough for a problem affecting at least 5 million college students. so here are our recommendations. first, leverage title four to require institutions to document and address food insecurity and allocate sufficient funds to help. most funds to higher education right now are allocated by aggregating part-time students into full-time equivalents, which effectively minimizes support for the nearly 6 million part-time students, many of whom have children and are at greater risk of food insecurity. it is far more equitable and effective for federal and state policymakers to distribute funds based on the number of students being educated.
second, pass the student food insecurity act to permanently explant -- expand step -- and provide grants to institutions to identify and reduce food insecurity. in addition, pass the eats to -- eats act. congress should also expand the national school lunch program to higher education. school students make the transition to college doing everything they have been told to do, only to find that critical support is no longer there. it's illogical, and it undermines our investment in that. third, make the pandemic emergency aid a permanent feature of today's higher education landscape.
congress allocated billions of pandemic relief to students who will continue to need it long after this crisis. those grants are available to students who cannot complete the fafsa. it will fill in where standard aid fall short and they need to be part of our financial aid system forever. fourth, provide incentives for colleges and communities to address food deserts and expanding availability of nutrition, low-cost food. institution should be held accountable for prioritizing affordability, student health, and academic success for setting the prices with cap a starting -- campus dining. millions of students are dropping out of college not for lack of talent but for lack of money for food. this is a legacy of a lack of public investment, dramatic
inequality and above all a basic misunderstanding of who students are and what they need to succeed. as a nation we are eating our seed corn. i ask this committee to listen to our students like an undergraduate at lake forest college, originally from chicago, a mom, the first in her family to attend college and she first graduated from the city to college of chicago. she is now a member of an advisory council. ask -- as for what she wanted you to know today she said this. i attend college to increase economic mobility with a degree. one year i looked -- worked full-time and picked up overtime when i could, attended classes in the evening full-time and managed to attend many of my -- as many of my daughter's school events as possible. i averaged two hours of sleep a
night and ate about one meal every two to three days. i know where and how to discreetly push on my stomach to quiet it when i start one of my morning lectures. i tell my classmates that i eat lunch at work. no one knows to do better -- knows any better this way of going through life is unhealthy and the worst example i could be sitting for my daughter. i think this committee for its leadership. and for a particular willingness to shine a light on this very real problem of hunger and food insecurity. i also think real college student like heather who have known about this crisis for a
long time and been ignored. their actions and advocacy are why we are here today. now is the time to make investments necessary to and -- end this absurd problem once and for all. thank you so much. >> my name is dr. ray. food insecurity is a major issue on college campuses across the country with recent studies indicating that 20% to 50% of
students in the united states experience food insecurity. this is far higher that rates -- than rates of food insecurity among the population, which is closer to 12%. not all students have equitable access to food support and services, with recent study showing impacts are more significant in low food access areas and hbcus. this can have a negative impact upon student academic performance as well as overall health and well-being. yes, the misconception that food insecurity does not affect college students remains commonplace. this is fueled in part by outdated conceptions of what the
typical college student looks like. not all students come from middle were upper-class grunts. many are the first in the family to attend college and work full-time jobs and try to support themselves and families. knowing that food insecurity on college campuses is an issue across the u.s., the columbia full policy committee voted to create a subcommittee [indiscernible] and across the city to reduce the rate of college students experiencing food insecurity. the subcommittee is comprised of five students of higher learning.
with two or three student organizers and date minimum of one faculty or staff mentor represented each school. at the columbia school policy committee believes that the insights of college students are vital to this work. they also recognize that many students face financial barriers to completing their college education. to create a more equitable opportunity for students to participate in the subcommittee the committee secures funding to compensate students for their time and effort in the form of food vouchers. since the fall of 2020 the subcommittee has focused on a variety of topics, including best practices surrounding campus food pantry management, supporting a college's opening
of a full pantry on their campus. as far as the visibility of in planning for a food reciprocity program. it would allow students to gain access to all pantries located at participating colleges. [indiscernible] to explore the ideas and concerns of college students, faculty, and staff who have insecurity on their campuses. findings will be shared with the policy committee, the council to used to inform future directions of the subcommittee. expanded transportation options to access grocery stores. future plans include a platform
for food pantries to share resources, developing food security training to present two different campus and community organizations, related policies that will increase healthy food options available at the food pantry housed at academic institutions. the food pantry provides to hbcus experiencing food insecurity. during the 1950's and 1960's students were warned that they would be 20 to 25 pounds heavier . [indiscernible] it drastically increase their waistlines of students who never dream they would have a weight problem.
[indiscernible] if you ate too much of the cafeteria food. i was a work-study student assigned to the cafeteria. during my four year stretch in 1969 and 1973 and as a cafeteria worker i noticed lots of bloated waistlines campus. i am proud to see that the bloated waistlines with a direct result of black students having adequate financial aid, scholarships, and work-study jobs that allowed them the luxury of having access to an adequate food supply, which was the campus cafeteria and to live on campus.
many of my classmates chose to live on campus because the nearest grocery store was miles from campus. the hbcu i attended and 98 other hbcus were in low access areas. according to a study published, one of the causes of this research study, i was surprised to learn so many hbcus are in low food access areas. in may of 1969 president nixon addressed congress with a message that according to a magazine report exposed problems. he promised to revamp the food stamp program.
they made that worse and by 1974 the united states was experiencing a full-blown food crisis. in 1984 president reagan's task force infuriated committee activists -- community activists. here we are today given a food crisis that would cause a young student to fail a class because they had to choose between paying rent or buying food. today college students are having a rough time. many of our students work full-time jobs because they are not receiving enough grant money to cover the cost of their tuition.
they do not have the luxury of having enough to eat. enough time to study, get adequate rest. i started the allen university food pantry in 2019 when i was hired as the minister of student affairs. in my job description it clearly stated starting a food pantry was it top priority -- was a top priority. i was hired on a monday and had the food pantry up and running the friday of that same week. the passionate was clearly evident in the 110 plus students that showed up during the grand opening ceremony. the success is due to the
generous help of one community nonprofit that help me set up a food pantry from the very start. i've also picked up sponsors that have helped disturbing weekly bags throughout the academic school year. we have two student organizers who serve as volunteers and they are also on the college food insecurity subcommittee. today the pantry as distributed 2,788 food bags. we also provide a wide array of [indiscernible] of some of the recommendations we feel will address food security are as follows. increase the amount of pell grant money to offset because of rising tuition, establish an
account to pay for living expenses like rent, utilities, or other incidental expenses that might pop up unexpected. allen university has a cooperative agreement with public city bus transportation to allow our students to ride the city bus free throughout the city. since many of our students are from rural and low income families, mammy -- many of their family members also face food insecurity, efforts have been made to conduct an assessment to ensure food insecurity problems are not going from when they leave campus to return to their respective hometowns.
lastly improve the financial well-being of students by teaching them financial literacy so we will not -- they will not be forced to work full-time jobs. thank you for your time and helping to bring national attention. >> thank you very much. i will yield dr. powers. >> thank you for the invitation to speak today and for your long-time leadership on the critical issue of hunger. thank you, distinguished members of the house committee for your participation in recent on tables but also your commitment to learning more about the issue of hunger and innovative ways to alleviate hunger. i applaud your collective for convening a conference on food,
nutrition, health, and hunger. during the past 20 years i have focused my professional activity on facilitating collaboration between researchers and community leaders to collectively lament innovative solutions to food access challenges throughout the southeast. i serve as managing director of the hunger solutions institute. hunger solutions institute leverages collective efforts of colleges, universities and institutions of higher education to promote adoption of best practices to address food and nutrition insecurity. campus, local communities here in alabama, u.s. food securities efforts i will talk today about our team's work.
i many of you -- how many of you had breakfast? college students face the same challenges as they prepare to go to class or study for tests. in alabama between 30% and 60% students do not have enough to do eat to support their concentration and focus. each of the students as a name -- has a name. one student named maggie mentioned food was impacting my ability to go to class and perform because i would be in three hour classes where i had to focus for three hours. i could not because i was hungry and i did not have anything to eat. i just did not. food insecurity during college
years is been shown to negatively impact many parameters, including what we have for today, retention, persistence and graduating higher education. the importance of a quality college education at an american workplace cannot be understated. in our modern society a college education continues to be a major contributor to financial opportunities for the american family, yet research suggests between 30% and 60% of college students face basic needs -- obstacles to basic needs. to ensure all students have an opportunity to pursue higher education and the benefit it provides for their personal lives, the american economy, and our democratic republic colleges must have the capacity to strategically address basic needs.
hunger solutions institute supported the launch of a campus coalition for basic needs to accomplish just that. the mission is to unify college campuses throughout alabama to ensure student basic needs are met with the end goal of empowering all students to succeed in school, earned their degrees, and open doors to opportunity. initially it started with 12 four year universities in alabama, including three hbcus. recently it to include the entire alabama college system. hsi's role is to support collaborative research and capacity building at each
university and among all university partners who are part of this. our collaborative efforts have confirmed that there is not a silver bullet solution to addressing college student food insecurity at every college. the diversity of our nation is reflected in the variety of higher education institutions across the u.s. hsi postulates a solution for each college rest and careful assessment, which we heard of, of their strengths and challenges at each institution led by a passionate counsel of candidates. innovative, systemic solutions specific to each university is crucial in addressing food insecurity. while our current endeavors here in alabama and have been funded by private foundations, opportunities remain for federal
and state governments to facilitate this kind of targeted, systemic change. we noticed that in the california example ruben mentioned. each member of congress should carefully -- and also to appropriate plans accordingly. the collaboration of financial and legislative support in the federal and state governments and the privatization of universities will inevitably promote opportunities for all americans regardless of troubled beginnings or unexpected obstacles to become educated and engaged citizens. hsi is thrilled to be a part of the solution to end food insecurity alongside many colleges and universities in alabama and abroad. thank you for your time, and i look forward to the discussion ahead.
>> i am happy to welcome mr. mac ms. sumac. >> hi, everyone. it is an incredible honor to be testifying before you today on the first ever hearing on college food and hunger. i hope to properly convey two points, that college student under is very real and it is an absolutely stoppable problem. the group my journey as a hunger activist i have seen us get closer and closer. i serve as a founder and ceo of a national nonprofit solely focused on stopping college hunger which began with me and several friends. some of you might be familiar how college food plans work. we had hundreds of dollars
collectively that were going to go a waste -- to waste. we convinced administrators to donate this money onto food cards of students who were food insecure. now every student can have a warm and nutritious meal. if there is food in the dining hall and there are hungry students why are we not connecting these dots? now organization has expanded far beyond donating meals. it has served 2.5 million nourishing meals and we have grown to 142 campuses across 41 states, and we work upstream too not only by changing school policies but having passed legislation in four states. each week my team space with
dozens of colleges helping them find antihunger programs for their campuses completely for free. all of these programs are designed by incredible student leaders empowering this movement. i am eager to share impactful models in our q&a. we have stakeholders from students to corporations to state legislators to campuses and philanthropy all at the table. we have saved a seat at the head of the table for congress. we need federal election. despite life-changing programs on campus, when it comes to basic needs are institutions are too underfunded and understaffed to address the need on campus.
this brings us to three key facts. we have to make snap the most powerful and effective tool we have in our arsenal more available to students by limiting the work requirement. recent changes have expanded eligibility to more than 3 million students. unfortunately representatives have introduced an act which would make this eligibility permanent. this is to advocate for this act that would -- resources to students. second is to learn from state legislatures. four state fs something originally developed on the
platform i'm on today which is that 22 campuses to find -- fund programs. they need the funding to do this work. as you mentioned this is a systemic issue. it is only a band-aid on the greater crisis, which is a severely underfunded financial aid system. the issue of hunger is a personal one. i grew up benefiting from free school meals. when my parents emigrated to the united states after the iranian revolution which left because it was a liver safe it was programs
that allow them to go up and chase the american dream, which they did. to see a day where no college student goes hungry because they really do believe so and they probably want me to pick a new career by now. universities were reluctant to acknowledge facts and actively denied having food insecurity on campus. today universities from rural colleges are posting their basic services and pantry needs. thank you for your time and leadership on this critical issue. >> i want to think the panel for your powerful and eloquent testimony. i will go last. i will yield to mr. -- ms.
torres. let me yield to my colleague from california. >> thank you very much, and thank you to my colleagues for allowing me to speak before them . it is a tough day with multiple things on the agenda, but i want to thank our guest today for your expertise and involvement on this very important issue. i have dealt with this issue both as a state legislator in california and in congress, two years ago introducing the basic needs act with then senator kamala harris. we have been able to advance partial funding of that bill,
but it is incredibly frustrating knowing this issue is such an important issue that we have not been able to get a hearing, a committee hearing on it. i think that the leadership of the rules committee really shows today in chairman mcgovern. he has been pretty committed to hunger issues and is now focusing on college students. i am a product of community college. my youngest son was in community college. one day i observed him making a pile of sandwiches. this kept going on day after day. how many sandwiches are you eating a day?
you are so skinny. >> mom, there are a lot of students at schools that are there all day, they do not have a car, they do not have any other transportation. they're walking to campus four or five miles, taking public transportation and they are there all day because they cannot afford the bus back home and they have nothing to eat. i make sandwiches for anyone of them who is hungry and they want some. i said how do you know all of this? he said first of all she talked to gets eating out of the trash can, pulling food out of the trash. no one should have to do that. i think he is absolutely correct.
focusing on this issue as really been an eye-opening experience not just as it relates to the lack of food but the lack of other services, and housing. when we look at community colleges i think we need to stop looking at them as i have traditionally and the role that they have played in the past. today community colleges are hosting not just students that are right out of high school. they are coasting adults -- hosting adults, many of them are already parents and they have challenges too. one of the things that we are exploring is housing. just like we have dorms in
universities, is there an opportunity to partner with community colleges, universities to build the housing that is necessary not just for single students but for parents who may have children and need an opportunity to house themselves and their children while they are in school. it is that kind of support for these future readers if we want to continue to look at our nation as a global leader, we cannot leave anyone behind. the basic needs act authorizes $1 billion, it takes 25% of that and allocates that directly to community college, and 25% is also directly going to minority serving institutions.
they are the brunt of this challenge. with that it incentivizes colleges to create programs, to create opportunities for students to access programs that we already have. it makes no sense for a high school student who is already on a reduced lunch or free lunch to move to college and that financial information not followed them to their college or university. we know already that they are extremely poor. why is that information not following them? many students, once we turn 18,
many of us did not have the support of our parents, financial support to continue with their education, so we have to look at those individual cases. i am very proud of my local community colleges and universities that have set up not just food banks but closets with professional clothing attire for students to have an opportunity to have an outfit to go on a job interview. it simply is not enough. coordinating these efforts together, i look forward to working with all of you to ensure that we get a hearing on these bills. we will continue to try to move that forward, but thank you, and i went to encourage you to
continue to being a voice for students who would otherwise not have a voice. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. cole? >> thank you, let me join you in thinking all of our presenters. you put an important spotlight on the real problem and something that i have not been aware enough of. i have been and regional colleges, community colleges, a couple of private institutions as well, and i found this was a bigger problem than i'd realized. i want to thank you, mr. chairman, for this unusual hearing and i say that. we do not usually deal with these issues. it is our chairman who put the focus on hunger and used this
committee in a very appropriate way as we push toward a larger effort to have a white house conference. we have worked together closely on congressional war powers. the committee has done work unusual for the committee, but well within its jurisdiction given its will -- role. i just want to make two observations on the things i learned and a couple of things a couple of our witnesses brought forward. the idea that we cut off food aid at 18 is something we should think about. we will send kids who were already food challenge to get an education. it is not like they are magically going to become affluent in college at 18. they worked pretty hard to get
there, they continue to need this kind of basic support. the second thing, and i was a little bit shocked at dealing with this with college ministers -- administers with no thought at all that they actually have to basic wherewithal to have a place to live and something to eat before they can take advantage. rethinking at the state level and throughout federal support what we do. it is not enough to give you an academic scholarship. there have got to be some things to go with it, particularly in certain cases where students simply cannot expect the same parental support that many educators assume is automatically there but we know it is not, particularly for our most challenge students. those are things we ought to look at.
if you are going to help us by making sure historically challenged parts of the population have access to higher education in a way that their parents and grandparents did not , then they need to provide you with something extra to make sure you could provide basic support levels they need. those are things congress has not spent much time on, and i sit on the appropriations committee that deals with higher education. this is not an area that we have focused on as much as we probably should have. the members have been very responsive. i think each of you for sharing your experiences. i made some calls i was disappointed to find out how accurate you all are and how
ill-informed i was in terms of the extent of the problem. i look forward to working to spotlight this more in find areas to extend federal support for needy students who have relied on it to get to the point of college and we pull it away from them and say good luck, see you in four years when you've gotten that degree, and that is not an appropriate thing for us to do. thank you for holding the hearing and each of our witnesses. >> i appreciate your words and your commitment to working with us on this. one of the things i always say is that at a time of great authorization in our country and congress between democrats and republicans, you probably cannot
tell who is a democrat or republican would you listen to the questions being asked or comments being made, we are moved by your testimony but we also care deeply about this issue and we are committed to finding a solution. i appreciate that. i yield to ms. scanlan. >> thank you to all of our witnesses were taking part in this. i am pleased to see the doctor representing a university in philadelphia. they have engaged in incredible work to make higher education more equitable. a 2000 and 10 report on college hunger confirms what many advocates of known, the food insecurity is a problem on college campuses and many students are not utilizing public benefits programs because
of onerous requirements, confusing application processes or lack of awareness and eligibility. pennsylvania five, which i represented, and constituents attend many more including temple. when talking to these colleges and university folks before and especially since the pandemic began the question of how to meet their needs for students always comes up. many people would be shocked to know how many students struggle with not just the cost of tuition and textbooks but with food, housing, transportation and other basic needs, and the struggle can stifle student success and often leads students to drop out before they finish their degree. many local institutions are
working on innovative ways to address the root causes of these issues and to meet basic needs, but it has become clear that many of our federal programs are outdated and do not match the reality that today's students are facing. one of the ways i first got involved in the hunger issue was as a school board member in public education advocate trying to improve school nutrition. you mention in your testimony to congress should expand the national program to students at higher education. can you talk about that proposal and why this would be a logical step to addressing food insecurity in higher and? -- ed? >> thank you so much for the question. as the students would put it, it is obvious. we all learned during the pandemic how important was to make sure that they got the free
breakfast and free lunch that in many cases is why they come to school. it is a huge attractor of coming to campus, so that people can eat and they feel like the rug gets pulled out from under them. i had student after student, i have done these interviews in oklahoma where students said i do not understand it. what do you think was going to happen when you abruptly cut me off from the support? the answer is we assumed title four financial aid would make everything ok. 60 years ago that was the promise of the pell grant, that if the student was from a low income family they would get through college without having to face financial barriers because pell would cover the whole thing. that is not been true even at community colleges since the
1970's. the average out-of-pocket cost for a low income student, out-of-pocket is over $8,000 a year. most people would find this completely shocking. we have to bring other programs to bear. i want to acknowledge lots of people when -- win when you expand the national school lunch program. food providers to get additional business, and colleges, which right now are struggling to come up with the food and trying to figure out the best way to do this, they would benefit from that additional support and the effort. this is something frankly we cannot afford not to do. >> what kind of steps do you think we need to take? >> there are a couple of things.
we have to decide who is in charge of this. higher education typically goes through the department of education and this is something that the agate committee -- ag committee does. the incoming undersecretary plans to make basic needs one of his priorities. maybe there could be someone appointed to work in tandem with folks at ag to advance this work. we need to do a bit of investigation into out well-equipped community colleges are to do food services work, but i strongly suspect that they are in at least as good shape through our k-12 schools. we need to figure out the rule - -role of affordability versus
choice. there is a big attention -- tension. food service providers believe that these adults are asking for the sun, moon, and stars. that is a very narrow swath. we need to eliminate the extent to which what students are asking for is something reliable and affordable to eat and include -- not include everything on the restaurant menu. we would start with the basics. >> that relates back. i heard elementary students as for sushi. our goal was to get rid of these deep-fried french fries.
they would eat nutritious food. if you serve it, they would eat. there was a lot that can be done especially with the goal of having nutritious and tasty food is always a good one. this committee as talked a lot about jurisdictional barriers. that is one of the reasons we are holding these committees, and it is echoed in the white house conference on unger. how do we align our higher education and food assistance to recognize and prioritize the needs of post secondary students in public benefit programs? >> the first thing we do is we put somebody in charge of that work and hold them responsible for. that person as to look at these benefits programs from the point of view student.
right now they are examined program by program, and if you do not look at it from the consumer perspective, then you do not see the many ways in which these programs conflict. it is stunning that would we know in college is that if you can take more courses you finish faster and save money, but taking more courses in college is hard when snap is requiring you to work 20 hours a week. the federal government wants you to finish that and save state money but it is telling you that you cannot afford to eat unless you do more. the same thing happens around housing. we have people who tell people in public housing, you will lose your public housing if you will go full-time and of part-time. it is counterproductive. for the most part i think these
conflicts are unintentional. we have to consider the burdens that come from things like paperwork, etc. those are administrative burdens that fall on colleges already drowning in paperwork. why should we ask students to fill out additional applications? the fafsa tells you more than what you need to know. we could decide as some school districts have that we do not want to put an application in front of somebody that needs food and do a community wide provision. at our nation's community colleges that is deserving. >> this is echoing another theme we have heard throughout these hearings, which is having more consumer focused approach. i think we heard about a project
in rochester bringing services together in one place to get better outcomes. thank you. i'm very interested in everyone's testimony. thank you, and i yield back. >> thank you very much. hillary clinton says it takes a village, and she was right, but it takes a plan too. we do not have a national plan to deal with hunger or even hunger on college campuses. you have all been involved in various initiatives that have been helpful and helped students to deal with some of these issues we are talking about today. the reason i do that is i
visited a college in massachusetts not too long ago, and they pointed out to me the food pantry they put on campus, i noticed when i walked toward the pantry the people who were there kind of moved away and did not want to be noticed, it did not want to be talked to, which raises the question. how many students are grappling with the issues of hunger but who are afraid to come forward? to say here is my situation. they are embarrassed. i feel that washington unfortunately contributes to that stigma.
if you listen to some of the debates people who struggle are often times belittled. we mischaracterize their struggle. how big of a deal is the issue of stigma in terms of being able to make sure that everybody has enough to eat. whoever was to begin, i will recognize you -- once to begin -- wants to begin, i will recognize you. >> i will say the rates at which we are seeing students utilize these resources, either the problem has gotten so bad that stigma is not a problem anymore. they are talking about what they're going through. the stigma piece is not it. to students asking for help, but
where it is a challenge in the way that we design programs unknowingly having them stigmatized. we should be creating resources that are supportive. stigma is impacting some students, but the evidence shows it is not a barrier to accessing help especially when it comes to students of color. >> it is really important for us to transition the stigma conversation to something that is more intimate to the day-to-day experience of students. students feel gas lighted by the fact that they are told that they have enough financial aid, they are told they are smart enough and they should not be struggling with basic needs. they are told if they are struggling they are not working hard enough.
that is a different conversation than the shame and stigma conversation. are there students who experience that? absolutely, because how do we treat poverty in this country? if you come to campuses that are dedicated to basic needs, you will hear music and an environment of community. there is an embrace and understanding that they are not alone when they come into this environment. that is something we need to connect the dots to come at the fact that right now there is a culture of no for college students. there is federal infrastructure that is supposed to be taking care of people in need at all times, yet when we think about people, our imagination does not include college students. college students are not part of, so when they ask for help
they are told they are not eligible even though they are. just recently in the roundtable we hosted as i was checking in with folks, a prominent california leader of a major association was having a conversation with me, and they said it is so sad that our students, we cannot do more for them. they are not eligible for snap and this. i was like, let me break that down. how do we start moving toward a yes and centering students so there is a sense of belonging in our federal strategies in federal infrastructure, because right now it is not there. there are so many possibilities not just in usda but in housing and other areas. if we have practical conversations, there is an incredible committee of faculty,
researchers, organizers, advocates that have solutions, but the biggest barrier right now is that we do not allow the college student population to be a discussion as a priority population for our federal interventions. >> if i may, our data shows stigma affects a small fraction of students coming forward, although it is something that people talk about, and i find that interesting. because it since the conversation and solutions in a different direction. our latest survey shows that only one in four students who did not receive basic needs support say they were embarrassed. the top reason was they did not think they were eligible. three quarters of the students heard no before they got
started. they also said they did not know how to apply, they did not note the programs existed. and then there is this other one that is complicated to comes from culture. some of them said other people need these programs more than i do. it is the network of people who have need. if we do not start to talk about our social safety net as robust and capable and actually make it that way, this problem will continue. the other thing i want to quickly note, i want to underline what ruben said. the financial aid system is scaffolding students. one of the problems starts with the assumption that the fast fun -- fafsa tells you anything it a
reality. it is not meant other than a single time snapshot. a huge swath of students who gain zero financial contributions but actually negative. what that means is for the country wants to make college affordable for them, and this applies heavily at hbcu we would actually have to give the family money. when a student goes into a financial aid office and says i am short on money for food and the financial aid officer says you have a full financial aid package, the next part of that conversation becomes why is the student budgeting. we have no evidence students are better budgeting. we have no evidence that the students would benefit from more financial literacy.
that should be offered to the students of wealthy families a web money to manage. students who are effective pinch pennies from day one are very good at financial management. >> we would also call for us to ideate with you because it is governed from the auditing structure that is broken down. if you want to change the culture of financial aid and tap into their care and advocacy for students, but they are limited by the auditing regulation that they have to honor, they are terrified to support students that they know they need to be supporting, because if they fail an audit that negatively impact all of the students in the institution itself. we went to invite the conversation to say how do we improve the auditing culture and
policies of financial aid so that it is student centered today and where we are going because financial aid people and officers and as a community, they are having to have the most tough and challenging conversation every day it was struggling with their basic needs. even if they wanted to do something on behalf of students they are governed by that auditing infrastructure. we will see a culture change and we will see a lot of different treatment and healing and healthiness throughout the financial aid community who are wanting to do >> i think those are all great points. let's be honest. the way our financial aid system is set up is about tuition.
not the basic needs of students. the issue of people being hungry, that is not out of the calculation. the colleges partnered with a local food bank to establish a drive-through pantry but we need to find a long-term solution to help the students. we should not have to turn to emergency food aid while pursuing a college education. i commend the committee college president across the country who are working to come up with a plan to combat hunger on their campuses.
as the president shared in his testimony, we need a federal strategy the -- to end hunger. we can help bring agencies to across the federal government, advocates and experts such as college leaders to develop a plan to end hunger once and for all. as you all have mentioned, there is significant engagement from a number of college presidents across the country working to address camps hunger. can you share insights on the levels of engagement you encountered? >> i personally work with those
prisons for the most part. let me give you a sense of the landscape. the more students they admit to their institutions, the higher the admissions rate, the closer they get to taking everyone, the more the presidents are engaged. the vast majority of students are much less engaged. that means the community college presidents are far more engaged with their trustees. then we see lots of participation and engagement from a couple of institutions. after that, we see where they are coming from and some small private institutions. as we get up to those places americans always fantasize about like the ivy league, we stay through private conversation, no public conversation. one of the we need to talk about
because they are not engaged and students are in a lot of trouble are the four profit colleges and universities. most american taxpayers don't realize they are footing the bill for large chunks of that education. they recruit students who are dealing with basic need insecurity. we have lots of evidence of that. not one of them has been willing to assess these challenges. i continue to be concerned we are not doing enough to hold institutions accountable for the things they already provide. and i believe the nation's community colleges -- i am glad this administration has lifted them high early deserve things and more support for being so out front on these issues for so long.
i want to highlight that in your own state, -- we have that on campus hunger in large part due to her work and the work of the largely female community college presidents across the state of massachusetts. >> she is a great leader. >> at allen university, given the fact that most of our students are from low income families, the need is pretty obvious. they come from mainly rural parts of south carolina and no
-- north carolina. we naturally know there is a huge need based on the amount of financial need -- aid we need. we want to make sure we can fill the gets -- gaps. they provided this one there were no cash flows. one of the things we also did, you mentioned something about this. we don't have one centralized location, we have mobile units like carousels with nutritious snacks.
students can get free snacks anytime. you want students to come in. we have those many food carousels dispersed in those two areas. now we are going to have them mobilize in the residence halls. sometimes students don't just have the money to pay for food coming out of the vending machine. we offer free laundry services to nonprofits located four blocks from the university.
as we talk about food insecurity, you have to look at all these other basic needs kinds of issues that are some of the root causes of food insecurity. if you don't, you go back to masking those needs deeper. if you don't satisfy the basic needs, there is not much that person can do to progress academically, professionally and in person. >> thank you for the opportunity to respond. we recently relaunched our work with our four year universities. we carefully examined what made
engagement most productive and effective and the number one thing we found was engagement of administrators. your question about administration engagement, i think it cannot be overstated that you have to engage university leaders in order to move this style. as we launched our work with the community colleges, we actually have a system for community college. we are shall he engage the administrator to begin with to have the community colleges involved. i think it is important that as we talk about federal legislation, how that can
obviously play a pivotal role in moving the style. i think it is important that we hold them accountable to understand what their needs are on their campus and address those needs appropriately through the legislation and appropriations that are provided. i really appreciate that question. >> just based on -- i have not done a study on this but not her body gets it. we are talking about examples of engagement and awareness and we are going to deal with this issue and we will solve this problem but not everybody is doing the same thing. in your way but hunger
initiative, how many schools are doing this and why isn't everybody doing this? it just seems like low hanging fruit. i assume it is not very difficult to be able to get a system in place that will enable people to transfer some of their milk credits. >> we have been able to grow to 142 universities across 41 states. this has been a long time in the making. the first five or six years, it was maybe a dozen schools and then suddenly, people were afraid to say we have hungry college students. so much of that has to do with the students on campus who do not stop talking about the fact that their peers are sitting next to them in class and surviving on a granola bar.
i would be remiss to not mention that our universities treat food as a source of revenue. universities provide food because it is a huge source of revenue. how do we go back to a point in time when food is centered as a basic need? i am a huge advocate for not just providing food at cost about subsidizing the cost of meals on campus so that we center food again. we have seen great progress. these are huge multinational and multi billion dollar companies were showing up to the party, there at the table investing dollars and changing their logistics. we are about to onboard 100 new schools into our movement. that would be a huge jump.
we believe that additional federal subsidies could change the lives of millions of students. >> when we met, i was impressed by your energy and your focus. i would not want to be on the opposite side of an argument with you. but it is activism that has resulted in a lot of the changes. the good changes we see on many college campuses. but i am still concerned about all of those that still don't get it. especially some of the private colleges as well. hunger is highest at a lot of our community colleges but we don't want to detract that a lot
of our most well-known colleges that are private, there are students there that are going without meals because there is no help for them. >> absolutely. and i will make sure to let my mom know that you said that because we are working on our family of the communication. i think some thing that comes up for me is this. we started this way back, we are 10 years plus in this organized approach to facilitating basic needs and the movement that is not just at the campus level, state-level and nationally. i can't agree with you enough every time that i hear you say that we can't just have the why we need to do the work but we need to have a plan, what has been missing is that there is a lot of story sharing of students experiencing hunger, administrators not knowing what
to do about it and our county, state and federal offices challenged by understanding the complex and sing policies and protocols for college student. we need to focus on what the possibilities are, what needs to happen to prevent from the precollege point. all waita maximizing the existing resources for students and of course, crisis resolution for when the students get there but the goal should be to minimize the amount of students that are in ongoing and emergency crisis experiences. that is what we designed in california across the uc system just last year, we published the next phase to improve basic needs for college students. this is a priority for the uc
regents and we invite all 10 campuses to contribute to our next five to 10 year plan. that institutionalizes and creates a culture to your point of what about knowledge and professional development for our administrators, the first thing we did when we published, we went on a roadshow to make sure that all vice chancellor's at all universities were trained on the latest data, our vision moving forward and how they had to be responsible for each one of the areas. we are showing up with a lot of intention. this improves the basic needs of our students. that is from the seat cabinet. we just want that to be a shared commitment with our state and federal government entities. we need to make sure that we are limited in terms of the outreach
and training and application support but if the infrastructure is not there on the budget, policy and protocol side of state and federal entities, it is really challenging to do the work. we always say we already know we need to do better, we know how to do better, we just need for us to be intentional about prioritizing these conversations so we can start making things happen. let's not wait until a national conference to get to the national conference to do something that we have known for the last 10 plus years that we already know how to do. i can't express to y'all enough how basic needs efforts took off as soon we started bringing chancellors and regents into california that have either lived experiences or that were
willing to say this is a priority. basic needs impact. the yield rates, enrollment rates, performance and completion, that is statistically proven. all higher education leaders need to understand that if they have a commitment to students, they have to have a committed basic needs and we have plans about how to make those things happen, it is just working in partnership with you all to put us in conversations with people that have decision-making authority and influence to make things happen. that is why i love being here with you all. we have been dreaming about you all. we are trying to make some magic happen that no one even thought possible. we have known it is not just possible, it is necessary. >> one of the reasons why the rules committee is doing this is we are not constrained by
jurisdictional issues. when we talk about the issue of hunger in general. we talk about only snap when the farm bill comes up. we talk about school nutrition and educational labor committee when child nutrition comes up. this is not just one agency or department responsible for this. we have been having these conversations with cabinet officials. the secretary of agriculture is very important to what we are talking about. there is a transportation part of this. we had a conversation with the secretary of energy.
when it comes to hunger, we want to do with the issue of the climate crisis. that affects us all. in massachusetts, we get cold winters. people pay our heating bill so that impacts the food budget. students who live in off-campus housing. in california, a few weeks ago, it was pretty hot in some types of california. there is a rule for the secretary of energy. the secretary of education has a role in all the things we are talking about. we want for president biden to say yes, we are going to do this. hopefully that will happen soon. but then what we want to do is
say secretary of education, you sit down with all the people we have gathered here today and others and let's figure out a plan to deal with the issue of food insecurity and hunger on college campuses so that when you have a conference, it is not a press conference, it is a form in which we have deliverables. they have a strategy and a plan to move forward because there are some things the administration can do. there are some things that congress is going to have to do. and some of the things that we all think are pretty common sense, welcome to congress, things that seem sensible sometimes are very difficult. let me ask you a question as well. part of what we do at this conference in addition to all hands on deck approach of the government level, federal, state and local, there is a role for the private sector in all of
this. what is the role of the for-profit businesses that provide many of the food services? what should we be asking of them? thank you for that great question. one thing i will quickly also make sure we get through today is we are all very politically astute and we know that the next 14 months or so, the amount of things we might have to ring forward not be as strong.
in advancement of this, hopefully you will be able to get the correct people in and move these conversations forward. i have already been in conversation with the loving arms of many of these massive for-profit food institutions and they are very excited. they are already bringing snap as a talking point. two people meeting within congress. the party is pretty packed. there are a lot of people that want to be at the table. food service companies, we will be announcing a grant for travanti. food companies are showing up.
>> let me just say that you won't like the timeline the way i am thinking about it here as well. i want to get as much done -- i am optimistic about the future. i hope we will have more like-minded people that will come on board with us. everything is not going to be solved immediately and overnight. i think time is of the essence because frankly, enough stalling. we know what to do. you have invented the wheel. we know things that work. we have examples on campuses. we have studies that provide us the data. we don't need to start from scratch. we have the information. we have some examples. we have programs that exist that may need to be expanded or where
we need to provide more electability in terms of how things are funded. we don't need to start from scratch. there is no need to drag this out. we need a working group up and running on this issue now to prepare for a conference that will hopefully be next year. again, i want this to move very quickly. the idea of a white house conference is not new. i believe this reminds me of richard nixon. way back when he talked about some of these issues. 52 years ago, we did a white house conference. not as expensive as the one we want to do but nonetheless, a conference that produced wic,
improvements in the food stamp program, it talked about the conference of -- the important of investing in nutrition. it was an imperfect conference but it produced some positive things. we want a conference that is more perfect. we want to elevate the voices of people with lived experiences. we want to talk about not just hunger in generalities but we want to talk about hunger on college campuses. amongst our active-duty servicemen and women community. among senior citizens, amongst working families, most of those who can't afford housing. this is a big topic. we need to make sure that we don't leave anybody behind. i had a conversation with the speaker of the house. there was inequity in our system in terms of how we provide emergency food relief and our territories. i visited tribal communities in arizona. there is a disconnect between
what we do in washington and the needs of our travel community. this is an opportunity to make sure we have everybody's voice at the table but we need a white house to say yes now. last week, i sent a letter. we have 25 committee chairs in the house. all 25 committee chairs sent a letter to the president saying this is urgent, please do this white house conference. everybody from the chairman of the ad committee to the chairman of the intelligence committee to the chairman of the small business committee to the chairman of the farm relations committee. everybody is on board. we can't even agree about what to have for lunch in the capital but everybody is on board in the need for this conference. the final thing, i will go back to you in the private sector, i would say hundreds of political conditions.
we have the money, the food, the resources, the knowledge, everything. we have not had the political will. i think maybe because it is spread out among different jurisdictions and different committees. maybe that is an excuse or maybe people think we have always had hunger. can't do anything about it or where is the constituency for this? if you are not moved by the moral obligation, if you don't believe food is a fundamental human right, if all you care about is the bottom line, hungry workers are hungry senior citizens, there is a cost to this.
hunger is expensive in this country. it is time to watch this holistic conversation to get everybody at the table. he was enlightened by your testimony. we have an education job to do on the hill. i will tell you that -- they just don't. you have money for books. you have money for food. i always tell people that
intelligence is not always a prerequisite for serving in congress. sometimes we have to be educated. sometimes you raise these issues so that people -- you have no skews not to deal with them. i think there is an opportunity here. congressman cole talked about his lack of awareness. i was elected in 1996. until recent years i don't think i appreciated the extent of the problem. shame on me for not being more aware. when i went to college, i was fortunate.
i just never worried about whether i would be able to have enough to eat. people are becoming more and more aware. they can't diminish this and say this is a big problem. they say don't go to school. let me just go back to the private sector. >> i would love to attempt that. i want to underline something you said that was really important. you do have an educational job to do. i don't think this is an accident that members of congress don't know about hunger. many in congress still consider colors to be a primarily residential experience where people live in dorms and spent times with friends in the evening and don't spend that
much time at school. many members of congress refer to college students as kids. there are no kids on our campuses. these people are doing very adult things and paying a lot of money to be there. only 15% of the nation's undergraduates live on a college campus. if you can't make -- you can't make a policy if you don't start with this understanding. let's be clear. a lot of student debt is coming from people trying to cover their living expenses. particularly from people who are covering their living expenses with debt because safety programs were cut.
that program is hardly available to these growing families. in order to go to college, the son does not only need a pell grant but they -- this -- what we have effectively done is privatize going to college. anybody who wants to address free community college needs to be at this table. the private sector has every reason to be engaged, especially now because of higher ed has changed. the pandemic made this an issue. enrollment is down. students living on campus is down. they are more interested that government subsidies than they have ever been. i think it is time to see is that moment.
we could be creating incentives for people to build afford housing for college student instead of saying that full-time students don't count for the tax credit. there are so many ways to pull these levers. if you can save a student a little bit of money over here, they will be able to eat over here. i would be remiss if i did not add childcare. so many of the students are unable to eat because of the high cost of childcare. the program nationwide serves a tiny fraction of the students who need it. there is room for all of those agencies where everyone had 20 of work to do. >> absolutely. >> i agree that the private sector has a usual to play in trying to rid college campuses of food insecurity issues.
they could possibly make monetary donations where grants could be created to be dispersed among -- rachel, i love your plan. based on the amount of money that each university has, there could be a fly card with the university. this would be in the amount that would carry through not just an academic turn based on your needs. that would take care of any food issues they might have.
that would totally illuminate the need for food pantries. i like the whole idea of empowering the students of that mechanism you're talking about. >> it gives students choice. anybody else? >> yes. i think what we have been talking about around raising awareness at the university administrators and winners here in the southeast, having to raise awareness of the fellow college students, raising awareness of congressional leaders and other administration but also raising awareness of the private foundations and in the private companies. this is a workplace issue. this is a workforce developing issue.
you have to translate some of the research into that language to encourage their participation in the conversation. i will say that similar to what rachel has experienced, we received financial support from private foundations that have partnered with plenty of private companies to support the work we are doing. the ones that are already aware, they are engaged and interested. i think we just have to commit to continuing that conversation. i will be the first to step up today and say i already have written down as my next task to reach out. for all of this to start the conversation, we can talk about grassroots, the next steps. >> i appreciate it.
i don't want to get ahead of the president but the bottom line is we are going to get ahead of you and we are going to start doing this so we can hit the ground running. we are interested in solutions. i think that grants and things are important for a lot of the initiatives people want to do but we have to standardize this. it has to be sustainable and depending on where your college is or whether you have access to private businesses with deep pockets, it should not be -- it should not determine the ability to move forward on some of these more innovative things. we need to get these foodservice companies not only invested in how we make sure we are getting food to people who may not be
able to afford it but we have to make sure they are dedicated to a nutritious diet as well. we want to make sure the food we are giving people who are struggling is the same food we would all want to eat. there are other issues. we are dealing with those challenges for graduate students as well that need to be addressed and we have to recognize that -- i think i have come to realize that in a lot of the programs that people may be eligible for, one glove does not fit all in terms of income eligibility.
what may constitute a livable wage in mitchell, south dakota may not be a level wage in san francisco, -- livable wage in san francisco, washington dc and new york. depending on where you are going to school and depending on what your living arrangement is as well, i think there has to be some understanding of the cost of living as to where you are. that needs to be addressed. i want to give everybody an opportunity to get on the record any last thoughts that you may have and i appreciate your willingness to help keep people together so that we can actually start planning out what the plan is that we want the administration to take on with
regard to hunger on college campuses. why do we begin with you and we will go around and give everybody an opportunity to say whatever you think is important to have on the record before we close the hearing. >> thank you. i first wanted to show my gratitude. in appreciation for holding not just this particular roundtable but all of the round tables on hunger. hunger solutions and the state of alabama looks forward to participating in next steps and we will continue addressing college student hunger as best we can and we look forward to several legislation appropriations that can support this. >> thank you very much, dr. ray.
>> yes. >> thank you for inviting me to this roundtable and meeting this wonderful group of individuals who are out there fighting food insecurity which is a very important issue. it is really giving me ammunition to take back the columbia food so committee, policy committee, to let them know there is someone at the federal level interested in what we are doing locally. but all issues and solutions don't start at the federal level. we still have to work and figure out things locally. it is a huge problem. no disrespect to the chairman, but sometimes we have to wait on you guys to get things going but we are in the trenches making
things happen on a day-to-day basis. what we are so grateful that you have our backs, that you are our strong advocates, advocates of making sure that this issue is in the forefront and i am very excited about future summits moving forward and coming out with permanent solutions. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. it is hard to talk about hunger without mentioning why people go hungry. fair wages. i think keeping the conversation on the living wage alive is very important to us addressing hunger. another quick thing we can do is put this into the $3.5 trillion budget that is about to pass. that would be incredible. of course, we have not spoken
that much about covid and that is the impact that this has had -- the impact the pandemic has had on students. the opportunity we have to act now is huge. we did a study and found that between 4% of students we surveyed had taken out loans that pay for the cost of food during the pandemic. this is only getting worse and worse. we don't want to bury more of our students in debt because of access to food. i would just close by saying i am still on this panel. our movement has grown and it is strong and it is full of thousands and thousands of students. for that reason, they are not giving up and now is the time for congress to step in and act at the federal level. thank you so much chairman mcgovern for all your leadership on this issue and for bringing us together today. >> inc. you very much.
-- thank you very much. >> i want to echo thanks for the hearing. it is really a privilege and in many ways a dream come true. we have been at this for a long time and this is really something, just coupled with the ga report which i think was a milestone in many ways. i want to underline that this is basically intersectional issue with many different components to it. i don't think we can talk about ending hunger without talking about the horrible housing or childcare along with a horrible transportation and so on. i appreciate the focus on the broader economics of college that are creating the situation in the first place. one issue we did not get a chance to touch on today that is so important is the behavior of many states in this country which have been systematically defunding higher education as more kids said they wanted to go to college. particularly as more women and
black and brown students have moved their way into higher education. have to reverse that trend. the federal gollum iron -- government plays a big role and higher ed. we have to make sure that states don't get away with this. i also want to underline that the people teaching the students on our campuses matter as well. teacher working conditions are student learning conditions. our efforts at the hope center have document it a crisis of food and housing insecurity among faculty and staff as well. many of these individuals rightfully ask what about us when we talk about the solutions and i do hope that we will hear them and pay attention to them, particularly because they need to be allies in this fight and not see this as a matter of
spending money on students at the expense of their wages. particularly given the crisis of higher education. please keep doing evan you can to give opportunities to student leaders to be front and center, including in the policy change effort. they need to be in the room where it happens. we are also creating another generation of people that will continue to work for it and i want to offer up the hope center advisory council. we have 23 remarkable individuals from every type of institution all over the whole country and every last one of them has done the work to prepare themselves to be able to be at something at that -- like that white house conference. i think that will change some hearts and minds. it is a privilege to be here with you today and i so appreciate both of you and
wrecking member cole who will -- i will probably always from ember for his remarks. >> thank you. >> i had myself unmute on my headphones and not the actual computer. that sound like fun. in terms of offering to the record, i want to lift this eco systemic affirmation that we are lifting for basic needs. i am excited that in california, we have finally moved the basic needs definition to include food, housing, health equity, tech equity, transportation, dependent care and to be mindful that different students experience these challenges in an herbal -- in an equitable way. lifting our immigrant students,
our parenting students on and so far -- so forth. i did want to lift the fact that we want to bring pleasure and joy and possibilities to everything that we are doing. the years of divisiveness and combativeness and ego and hierarchical dynamics that have gotten in the way and prevented us from prioritizing the healing and the care of our communities has to experience adjust transition. let us be the generation that brings connectivity, interdependence, pleasure and joy to produce transformative possibilities moving forward and in that frequency, for the record, i would have to accept the invitation we are being offered to join the planning committee of this national conference and in particular, the after party planning committee because we must celebrate on the others of this phenomenal transfer me to experience that we are all going to come together to move us in
better directions. thank you also much. it is an honor. this feels like another supernova moment that is sustaining and energizing all of our communities that are out there on the front lines of the pandemic and environment of catastrophes and challenges because basic needs are the essential service providers of higher education today. thank you also much. >> thank you. i want to thank everybody for your incredible participation here today. i have to say, i have two conflicting feelings right now. one is every time we talk about any aspect of the hunger problem in this country, i can't help but feel deeply ashamed. we live in the richest country of the history of the world and we are talking about students that don't know where the next meal is coming from. in this committee, we have talked about senior citizens in emergency rooms because they are
taking educate -- medication on an anti-stomach and kids who go to school at the earliest levels -- they go without food on weekends and workers who can't afford to put food on the table. it is shameful. my other feeling is one of hope. there is a way forward. there is an answer to this. there is a solution to this. i tell people hope can't be a passive thing. it has to be a call to action. we are pushing people at every level of government to focus on this.
we are going to have to deliver something. yes, you do. if we do a white house conference, we will have to do something. that is a good thing. the idea that we have a bit of a conversation about young people going to college when young people and sometimes not so young people go to college and not knowing whether or not they can have access to food, it is on except a ball and cannot be allowed to stand. we can't allow people to be ignorant about the situation as a way to not have to deal with it. this hearing helps amplify this issue. it will be part of a record we are sending to the white house. i will be looking forward to
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