What to Know
- The City Council is giving thousands of dollars to low-income City University of New York (CUNY) students and on-campus food pantries
- New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Ritchie Torres and City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez announced a plan to give 1,595 food insecure students $400 for food this spring
- The City Council will redistribute the funds to individuals by check and will direct $35,000 to CUNY food pantries that remain open on campus
The City Council is giving thousands of dollars to low-income City University of New York (CUNY) students and on-campus food pantries.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Ritchie Torres and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez announced a plan to give 1,595 food insecure students $400 for food this spring.
The students, who must meet multiple measures to determine need, will receive a check to spend on food at local grocery stores.
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In December, the city announced a $1 million pilot to address food insecurity among CUNY students by providing eligible students with vouchers and swipe cards to use in cafeterias each semester.
However, since CUNY campuses, including cafeterias, are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, the City Council will redistribute the funds to individuals by check and will direct $35,000 to CUNY food pantries that remain open on campus.
“Coronavirus has drastically changed how students learn but our hunger problem among low-income students is the same and so is the Council’s commitment to combating hunger in our city. We don't want students to sacrifice meals because cafeterias - where they could use city-funded vouchers or swipe cards - are closed. These students need those meals now more than ever to remain healthy,” Johnson said in a statement.
Torres shared similar sentiments.
“There’s long been a crisis of hunger, food insecurity and poverty among the lowest income college students, and the coronavirus outbreak threatens to compound the crisis to an extent not seen before. The Council is committed to addressing food insecurity in the long run," Torres said.
The students who will receive the vouchers were selected from a pool of low-income students who met the basic eligibility criteria and had an average family income that was $15,605. Determinations are made per semester.
The program is designed to provide qualifying students, including CUNY Dreamers, with $400 each semester. The program operates at CUNY’s seven community colleges: Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), Bronx Community College (BCC), Hostos Community College, Kingsborough Community College (KBCC), LaGuardia Community College, Queensborough Community College (QCC) and Guttman Community College.
Students are given $400 – which is equivalent to three $10 meals weekly for 13 weeks – to spend on food items in participating cafeterias.
“The coronavirus crisis has heightened the financial challenges that our most in-need students face. I am pleased that the Council has been able to swiftly switch the vouchers to a payout that students can use for food anywhere,” Rodríguez said in a statement. "These critical funds will make it easier for 1,595 CUNY students to focus on their studies and help feed themselves and their families.”
The basic eligibility criteria to qualify is:
- Significant financial need
- Resident of the five boroughs
- Enrolled at CUNY for at least 9 credits
- Obtaining first college degree
- Not currently a recipient of the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Maintaining a satisfactory grade point average
Priority was also given to student parents, students who completed a minimum of 45 credits and first year students.