NJ Secretary of Higher Education Announces Grant Availability for Public Colleges Under the Hunger-Free Campus Act
Notice of Fund Availability Details Eligibility Criteria and Application Requirements to Receive Hunger-Free Campus Designation and Grant
(TRENTON) – Helping New Jersey colleges address food insecurity among their students, the Hunger-Free Campus Act – which establishes a grant program for eligible institutions designated by the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education as hunger-free college campuses – became law in May. Today, the Secretary announced funding availability under the program.
“One in nine residents in New Jersey is food insecure,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “To fight hunger effectively, it’s imperative to address all possible sources of this insecurity. As an issue not always outwardly visible, it may come as a surprise that over a third of college students struggle with having enough to eat. To adequately identify and support students on this issue, colleges need to have more robust resources available. This grant program works toward creating them.”
The Secretary will determine the amount of each grant awarded to colleges in an effort to best address food insecurity among students enrolled in the institution.
Within two years, the Secretary will be required to submit a report to the Governor and Legislature detailing the number and amounts of grants awarded, the impact of the program on establishing additional hunger-free campuses at public colleges and reducing the number of students experiencing food insecurity, and recommendations for the programs’ expansion.
“College affordability is about more than just tuition and fees. Food insecurity faced by students on campus is a real issue that needs to be addressed to help students be successful and obtain their degree,” said Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis. “Through leadership in the State, we are excited to be able to administer the Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program to assist campuses in finding innovative and sustainable solutions to help their students.”
Part of a 14-bill anti-hunger initiative spearheaded by Speaker Coughlin, the Hunger-Free Campus Act (formerly A-4702) was sponsored by Assembly Democrats Benjie Wimberly, Mila Jasey, Raj Mukherji and Yvonne Lopez.
“Hunger does not discriminate,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). “It affects all types of people – from those living in small communities to those living on college campuses. College meal plans can be costly for many families and students, and this grant money will significantly help our hard-working students who are in need of food assistance while they are getting an education.”
“College, in itself, is hard enough,” said Jasey (D-Essex, Morris). “Paying for meals at college should not be. The goal of this grant program is to ease the stress on students and families who are struggling to make ends meet as well as to ultimately end food insecurity for students on New Jersey college campuses.”
“The cost of college can quickly and drastically add up, whether it is paying for tuition, books, or room and board,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “A college student’s main job should be to get the education they deserve, not to be overwhelmed with worry about how they will eat while at school. This grant program will help college students to prioritize school, as they should, and ultimately help put them on the path to a successful future.”
“No college student should have to worry about where their next meal will come from,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “They deserve to pursue their academic and professional goals free of the added stress that comes with food insecurity. Hunger-free campuses will be a haven for these students.”
Grants provided will help colleges address hunger statewide, leverage sustainable solutions to address basic food needs of students, raise awareness for available food services, and aid in building strategic partnerships between local, state and national groups to better address food insecurity among students.
For more information on eligibility criteria and application requirements, please visit: https://www.state.nj.us/highereducation/documents/pdf/News_Section/Hunger-FreeCampusActGP.pdf