April 24, 2020

Wyden Pushes to Ensure College Students Have Food on the Table Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today pushed to help college students in Oregon and nationwide have access to critical nutrition assistance by allowing Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) to be triggered during a pandemic.

“College students across the nation are facing unprecedented challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, shuttered campuses have exacerbated their food insecurity. In 2019, 39% of America’s college students reported being food insecure within the past 30 days. Food insecurity is more common among students attending two-year and community colleges, and disproportionately affects Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students, students who are parenting, and students who have been in foster care,” Wyden and 18 colleagues wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Many college communities have woven a safety net for food-insecure students with food pantries, on-campus meal provision, and similar programs, but many of those services are inaccessible during this pandemic due to social distancing and campus shutdowns.”

They continued, “College students were among the first to experience substantial changes as the nation worked to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. As policymakers, we must bolster protections for our most vulnerable college students during this uncertain time. Opening D-SNAP to college students would ensure their immediate needs are met. We thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.”

Along with Wyden, the letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Mark Warner, D-Va., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tina Smith, D-Minn., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.

A copy of the letter is available here.