WHY IS THIS ISSUE IMPORTANT?
Across the country 1 in 7 college students have barriers preventing them from getting the adequate nutrition necessary to succeed in school and in their future. Some students even experience homelessness and have limited resources to improve this circumstance. Swipe Out Hunger is committed to supporting the wellbeing of these students during a very critical time.
WHY DO STUDENTS EXPERIENCE FOOD INSECURITY?
There are various reasons why students experience hunger. Below are some factors that contribute to food insecurity.
- Parents of students attending higher education can no longer contribute financially due to the economic downturn.
- Undergraduate financial aid loans do not cover tuition or living expenses.
- Graduate students are unable to attain enough financial aid, grants, or TA-ship
- Students cannot find employment.
- If students do have employment, they may be waiting on their next paycheck to be able to afford expenses.
- Students commute to campus and cannot afford lunch during the day.
- Some students are parents and have to support their partner or child.
- Students have emergency medical costs.
WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR UNIVERSITIES TO PROVIDE SUPPORTIVE SERVICES?
People often associate universities with thriving students and resource abundance. This assumption is outdated and quite the opposite is happening. In a survey of 3,800 students at 34 community and 4-year colleges across 12 states – the broadest sample to date – the authors found that 48% experienced food insecurity the previous month and 22% of respondents had the very lowest levels of food insecurity. Of these food insecure students, 64% also experienced housing insecurity, and 32% reported hunger and housing problems impacted their education. Food insecurity even affected students who had a job and/or other financial help. Furthermore, being enrolled in a meal plan with a campus dining hall did not eliminate the threat of food insecurity. Among the respondents from four-year colleges, 43% of meal plan enrollees still experienced food insecurity.
The impacts of hunger on students are drastic. Hunger or housing problems caused 53% of respondents to miss a class, 54% to miss a study session, 37% to miss a club meeting, 55% to opt not to join an extracurricular activity, 55% to not buy a required textbook, 25% to drop a class, and 81% to not perform as well academically as they otherwise would have.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?
Below are some articles and reports about campus hunger.