HB827: On-campus food insecurity; SCHEV to survey institutions to determine how they are addressing issue.


VIRGINIA ACTS OF ASSEMBLY -- CHAPTER
An Act to require the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to survey each public institution of higher education and compile and make available a guidance document on addressing on-campus food insecurity; report.
[H 827]
Approved

 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. § 1. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shall:

1. Survey each public institution of higher education to determine how each such institution is addressing on-campus food insecurity, including specific methods, programs, sources of funding, expenditures, communications strategies, and staffing;

2. Compile and make available to each such institution a guidance document containing best practices for leveraging all available resources and opportunities, including public benefits programs and donation programs, to ensure that students do not face food insecurity on campus; and

3. Report its findings and any recommendations to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Education and Health, and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations no later than November 1, 2024.


HOUSE BILL NO. 827
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
(Proposed by the House Committee on Appropriations
on February 7, 2024)
(Patron Prior to Substitute--Delegate Cousins)
A BILL to require the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to survey each public institution of higher education and compile and make available a guidance document on addressing on-campus food insecurity; report.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. § 1. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shall:

1. Survey each public institution of higher education to determine how each such institution is addressing on-campus food insecurity, including specific methods, programs, sources of funding, expenditures, communications strategies, and staffing;

2. Compile and make available to each such institution a guidance document containing best practices for leveraging all available resources and opportunities, including public benefits programs and donation programs, to ensure that students do not face food insecurity on campus; and

3. Report its findings and any recommendations to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Education and Health, and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations no later than November 1, 2024.

HOUSE BILL NO. 827

Offered January 10, 2024
Prefiled January 9, 2024
A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 23.1-409.2, relating to public institutions of higher education; Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program; established; report.
Patron-- Cousins

Committee Referral Pending

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 23.1-409.2 as follows:

§ 23.1-409.2. Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program.

A. The Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program (the Program) is established for the purposes of (i) addressing student food insecurity at public institutions of higher education; (ii) leveraging more sustainable solutions to address basic food needs on campuses of public institutions of higher education; (iii) raising awareness of services offered on campuses at public institutions of higher education to address food insecurity; and (iv) building strategic partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels to address food insecurity among students at public institutions of higher education. The Program shall be managed by the Council and available for participation by public institutions of higher education; however, participation in the Program shall be optional for such institutions. The Council shall review applications from such institutions, and if an institution satisfies all of the criteria set out in subsection B, it shall be designated as a "Hunger-Free Campus" and the Council shall award a grant to such institution. The Council shall prioritize grants and grant amounts to institutions with the highest percentage of students eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant enrolled in such institution. The Program shall be funded by moneys from the state general fund. An institution that receives a grant pursuant to this section shall utilize the funds to support on-campus efforts and initiatives to eliminate student food insecurity at such institution.

B. To receive a "Hunger-Free Campus" designation and receive funding under the Program, a public institution of higher education shall:

1. Develop a student meal credit donation program or designate a certain amount of funds for free food vouchers or gift cards that can be used at campus stores, eateries, or local establishments. Each public institution of higher education may develop its own procedures for a meal donation program.

2. Establish an on-campus food pantry or partner with a local food bank to provide information to students about food services in the local area. All food provided from the on-campus food pantry shall be free of charge, and no student shall be required to demonstrate food insecurity to access such pantry. However, an institution may require that an individual show a valid student identification card to access food from the on-campus food pantry.

3. Host at least two on-campus events each academic year that advertise on-campus food pantry services. Notice of the existence and location of such food pantry shall also be posted in a visible location on the institution's website with contact information for staff members who are involved in running the on-campus food pantry and other efforts to address food insecurity at the institution.

4. Ensure that all students have access to accurate information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as other available food assistance programs, including eligibility and application requirements and procedures. Each institution shall designate an individual who works on campus that students may contact for assistance in learning about and applying for such benefits. Each institution shall also (i) provide SNAP recipients with options to use SNAP benefits to receive food at on-campus dining locations or (ii) provide students with information on establishments in the local surrounding area where they may utilize SNAP benefits.

5. Every two years conduct or participate in and submit the results of a student survey on food insecurity to the Council at such time prescribed by the Council for inclusion in a comparative profile of each campus designated as a hunger-free campus.

6. Establish a task force made up of faculty, students, administrators, and other relevant community members to address food insecurity that shall meet no less than three times per academic year. Such task force shall assess the effectiveness of institution actions required pursuant to this section and explore other options to address food insecurity at such institution.

2. That the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shall submit a public report to the Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Education and Health and the House Committee on Education no later than two years after the establishment of the Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program (the Program), established under § 23.1-409.2 of the Code of Virginia, as created by this act. The report shall include (i) the total number and amounts of grant awards, (ii) information about the impact that the Program has had on establishing additional hunger-free campuses at public institutions of higher education and reducing the number of students experiencing food insecurity, and (iii) recommendations regarding the potential establishment of an annual appropriation for the Program.