Food Closet For College Students

by CalWatchdog Staff | January 13, 2011 6:54 am

Katy Grimes: Demonstrating what difficult financial times California is experiencing, two UC Davis students have created a food pantry, handing out free food — for the needy college students.

The UC Davis website[1] announced on Wednesday, “Two UC Davis students are leading an effort to establish a food pantry to serve fellow students who are struggling to make ends meet.”

If I recall correctly, aren’t all college students expected to “struggle to make ends meet?” Or have we raised such an entitlement society that students receiving state-funded grants at state colleges consider themselves so hard-up that they can’t survive on Top Ramen and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese the way generations of college students before them proudly did?

The UC Davis food closet idea followed recent food bank openings on the campuses of Bakersfield College, Oregon State University, West Virginia University and UCLA. “I have friends who are struggling with school expenses, especially the recent fee increases,” said founder Justin Gold, who is double majoring in philosophy and political science. “I want to help.”

I have no doubt that there are kids attending college on the tightest of budgets. However, too many college students today are able to attend college on Cal Grants[2], Cal Entitlement Grants, Pell Grants, Loans, and Subsidized Loans, so that they do not have to pay for the college education themselves.

The Cal Grant website[3] tells the student to “Think of a grant as the ultimate graduation gift, because you don’t have to pay it back. With a Cal Grant you can get up to $11,124 a year to pay for college expenses.”

Pell Grants are federal aid, and are awarded to low-income students, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) are for low-income students with exceptional financial need.

And there are eight other grant programs available from the California Student Aid Commission for college including the Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program [4] which matches the amount of a Cal Grant up to $11,259 for up to four years, and the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program[5], and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program[6] “where qualified students can receive Stafford loans and their parents can receive PLUS loans for college costs.”

And students can attend free workshops for “Cash For College[7],” where they receive help filling out the grant applications. If students complete an exit survey at the workshop, there could be “an extra $1,000 incentive scholarship!”

Ironically, the only students who may actually require help from the UC Davis food closet are the kids whose families are paying for college out of their own pockets.

JAN. 13, 2011

  1. website:
  2. Cal Grants:
  3. website:
  4. Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program :
  5. Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program:
  6. Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program:
  7. Cash For College:

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