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Pennsylvania Hunger-Free Campus Initiative

Information on SNAP Eligibility and COMPASS Partnership (YouTube)

Over one-third  of students know someone who dropped out of college due to food insecurity during the pandemic1. Roughly 52% of students who faced food or housing insecurity in 2020 did not apply for support because they did not know how2. Colleges and universities across the country are taking steps to address these issues so students can focus on their education instead of where to find their next meal.

The Office of the First Lady, Mrs. Lori Shapiro, fully endorses the PA Hunger-Free Campus Initiative, which began in 2022. In 2023-24, the work continues to build a coalition of colleges and universities focused on addressing hunger and other basic needs for their students; creating opportunities for connection among student hunger advocates; providing resources and strategies for campuses; and supporting opportunities to apply for grants related to addressing food insecurity.

Pennsylvania colleges and universities that are taking the steps to address student hunger are invited to apply for the PA Hunger-Free Campus Designation Certificatio​n Form. Applications are now being accepted on a quarterly basis. The deadlines for submission are as follows:  

  • March 31, 2024​
  • June 30, 2024
  • September 30, 2024
  • December 31, 2024

Institutions that achieve this designation will:

  • Receive a certificate of recognition from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
  • Receive public recognition through placement on the PA Hunger-Free Campus website with a statement indicating that the campus is committed to supporting the health and well-being of students and is part of the collective effort to raise awareness and assistance for food insecurity.
  • Be able to use the PA Hunger-Free Campus logo on materials to indicate the institution's awareness of and focus on solving student hunger.
  • Be prepared for related grant opportunities that may become available.

Grants

The Office of the First Lady, Mrs. Lori Shapiro, fully endorses the PA Hunger-Free Campus Initiative, which began in 2022. In 2023-24, the work continues to build a coalition of colleges and universities focused on addressing hunger and other basic needs for their students; creating opportunities for connection among student hunger advocates; providing resources and strategies for campuses; and supporting opportunities to apply for grants related to addressing food insecurity.

Governor Josh Shapiro successfully advocated for $1,000,000 in the FY 2023-2024 budget to support postsecondary institutions' efforts on addressing student hunger needs on campus. Commencing August 2022, postsecondary institutions were invited to apply for the PA Hunger-Free Campus or PA Hunger-Free Campus+ designation to demonstrate their commitment to addressing these needs and diminishing barriers for learners. Beginning September 25, 2023, institutions that have received the designation are invited to submit an application for consideration to receive funds to address food insecurity on campus. 

For more information on the Pennsylvania Hunger-Free Campus Initiative, please contact us at RA-EDHUNGERFREECAMPUS@pa.gov.


1 2020 State of the Student: COVID-19 & Food Insecurity | Chegg.org

2 The Hope Center Basic Needs Survey | The Hope Center for College Community and Justice (temple.edu)