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Free food pantries becoming standard on SUNY, CUNY campuses

Eileen Buckley

New York is making free food pantries a standard fixture on all its public college campuses.In announcing the overall No Student Goes Hungry Program in December, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there are "nearly 2.7 million New Yorkers, including almost 1 million children, who do not have consistent access to the food they need to live an active, healthy life." As for state college students, he said "only about half of all SUNY and CUNY campuses have food pantries currently in place."

Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

New York's program is part of efforts across the nation to deal with the ripple effect of rising college costs and changing student demographics that make it hard for some students to afford basics such as food.

"Hunger on Campus," a report published this month by a lab at the University of Wisconsin, found 36 percent of 43,000 two- and four-year college students surveyed in 20 states were dealing with hunger issues. Among community college students alone, 42 percent said they struggled to get enough food. In addition, 48 percent of survey respondents experienced food insecurity in the last 30 days.

Experts say food insecurity takes a toll on college students, making it harder for them to achieve their goals and graduate with a degree that's key to improving their financial situation.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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