WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – There’s a new effort in New Jersey to make sure college students are not going hungry, thanks to a creative idea by William Paterson University.

The state’s Department of Education awarded a nearly $1.5 million grant to the university to fight food insecurity.

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The money will provide meal allowances for up to 600 students over two years.

To qualify, students need to be enrolled in the state’s “Pledge for Success” program, which provides financial aid.

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“We’re actually putting direct aid in the hands of students saying, you know, you don’t have to choose between attending that class, or graduating in time, and putting food in your mouth, or in your hands. What we’re saying is, don’t take on that additional job so that you actually have to eat,” said William Paterson University Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & University Relations Guillermo De Veyga.

The program provides $1,000 per semester in the first year, and $600 the second.

Students will get an ID card to be swiped at campus food outlets to help kids stay in school.

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The university says food insecurity is one of the top reasons students drop out.

CBSNewYork Team