College students in California are turning to food stamps to afford to eat

grocery shoppingJustin Sullivan/Getty

  • More students at University of California schools are experiencing food scarcity issues.
  • 500 students at UC Berkeley applied for food stamps in 2017, compared to 111 last year.
  • Students also supplement their meals by using a free food pantry at Berkeley.

College students in California are turning to food stamps to afford their meals, CNBC reported.

Since January, 500 University of California at Berkeley students have applied to receive the service, up from 111 applications in 2016, and 41 in 2015.

If accepted, students can receive up to $192 a month for food at grocery stores. But not all students are accepted. This year the acceptance rate was 73%, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Across all University of California campuses, a number of students experience food scarcity issues. A survey of 9,000 students revealed that 19% of students didn't eat enough due to financial issues, and 23% ate poor-quality food with little variation, according to the Chronicle.

At Berkeley, students who don't have food stamps can also turn to the school's food pantry, which allows students to take five items for free.

A Berkely student named Christopher told The Chronicle he relies on the pantry's groceries to eat, when he doesn't have the money to pay for food. "I'm low on funds," Christopher, who asked to be identified by his first name only, told The Chronicle.

He took juice, milk, box of peanut butter Puffin cereal, and two cans of beans and corn from the Pantry.

Issues with food scarcity at some UC schools come amid nationwide concern over the cost of college. For the 2017 school year, the cost of tuition, room, and board at UC Berkeley is $29,784.

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