CUNY System Pledges $1 Million to Support Food-Insecure Students
March 17, 2020

Hunger is a very real problem facing many low-income college students. Long an advocate for underserved students, the CUNY system, in collaboration with the New York City Council, has started a $1 million pilot program to combat food insecurity among its students.

The pilot gives 1,250 low-income students, including the system's Dreamer students, $400 in campus cash that can be used in CUNY's cafeterias. Students were selected for the program based on several factors: demonstrated financial need, residency in one of the five boroughs, at least part-time enrollment at CUNY, working on their first college degree, not currently a recipient of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and a satisfactory grade point average.

“College student hunger is a serious problem in New York City. CUNY students should be focused on learning and studying, not where their next meal is coming from. We are one of the richest cities in the world but too many New Yorkers don't have equitable access to healthy food. The Council is proud to fund this pilot so that more students have access to food instead of skipping meals to survive," said Council Speaker Corey Johnson in a statement announcing the program.

This latest effort fits into CUNY's other initiatives to support underserved students. The system has opened food pantries, provided food vouchers to all of its 18 undergraduate colleges, and grown organic produce on three campuses. It has also created offices to assist students in applying for nutrition benefits, health insurance, legal and financial services, and tax preparation.

“The initiative will be a valuable addition to CUNY's leading-edge efforts to address food insecurity and connect students to life-changing resources that will contribute to their physical and mental well-being and academic success," said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. 

For students in the CUNY system, then, they now have access to yet another resource that will support their wellbeing and success.

​At a Glance

Member Institution: The City University of New York

Initiative: $1 Million Plan to Address Hunger

Goal: To provide a monetary stipend for students suffering from food insecurity.