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Data shows more than 21,000 San Diego college students are receiving CalFresh food assistance

alex montes shopping.jpg
Nic McVicker
Alex Montes shops at The Stand basic needs resource center at Mesa College, San Diego, CA, November 18, 2021.

A new report from the California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley found that more than 21,000 San Diego college students and 260,000 college students in the state are receiving food assistance through the CalFresh program. The program assists eligible students with up to $250 per month for groceries.

Elise Dizon-Ross, a postdoctoral scholar at the California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley and co-author of the new report, joined KPBS Midday Edition to talk about the findings.

Dizon-Ross said the data from this report will help determine how to direct resources to students who are eligible to receive food assistance but are not yet getting it.

"We've partnered with the community colleges and the University of California, in addition to the California Student Aid Commission and the Department of Social Services, and they're all really eager to understand the extent to which they're reaching this population, in large part because pretty much all these partners believe that the numbers of students actually on CalFresh is definitely below the number of students who are likely eligible for it," Dizon-Ross said. "So there's another hundreds of thousands of students that are eligible for — and deserve — these benefits but are not actually getting them."

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Overall around 10% of community college students are enrolled in the CalFresh program, about 12% of UC undergraduates, and about 4% of UC graduate students were enrolled in the program in the academic year 2019-2020.

The CalFresh website has information about eligibility requirements for students and how to apply for CalFresh benefits.