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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.

To advance student food security efforts across the state, the Pennsylvania Office of the First Lady and the Department of Education (PDE) are piloting the Pennsylvania Hunger-Free Campus initiative. The initiative includes building 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 designationApplications for designations will close on October 30, 2022, and reopen on January 2, 2023. Applications will be accepted on a quarterly basis. The deadlines for submission are as follows:  

  • March 31, 2023
  • June 30, 2023
  • September 29, 2023
  • December 29, 2023

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

Governor Tom Wolf successfully advocated for $1,000,000 in the FY 2022-2023 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 October 31, 2022, institutions that have received the designation are invited to submit an application for consideration to receive funds to address food insecurity on campus. 

For access to the eGrants system and the related grant opportunities, prospective applicants should complete the eGrants Request Form. Please note that the person completing the grant application must have signatory authority to negotiate grants and contracts for the institution and be able to upload documentation into the eGrants system. Institutions with eSign ability in eGrants will be able to utilize this feature to complete the application.  

Note: As of September 14, 2022, eGrants transitioned to MyPDESuite. Directions to navigate this change are located on the eGrants sign-in page.

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)