Hunger Issues on College Campuses

| By Lisa Stoll |

Most college students not only go to school, but they also work, yet they still don’t have enough money to feed themselves.  Food insecurity on college campuses is not about laziness or slacking off.  Students are doing all the things they are expected to do, and often more, yet are still unable to afford to feed themselves.  The cost of college (which includes tuition, textbooks, and living expenses while in college) continues to rise, creating an even bigger problem.

“The truth is, many college students are scraping to get by. Nearly half of the students in one survey reported “food insecurity,” meaning they lack reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food; 22 percent reported going hungry. The problem is so acute that universities are opening food banks at campuses across the country” (Myers).

According to a nationwide study done last year, 22% of college students face hunger on a daily basis, in other words, they are food insecure.  The report also found that “food-insecure students had more trouble with schoolwork. Over half (55 percent) reported that hunger problems caused them to not buy a required book; 53 percent reported missing a class; 25 percent reported dropping a class” (Kovacs).  Being hungry and worried about your next meal means that you will have issues with staying alert and concentrating in class.

“When a person makes a trade-off between food and other essential living expenses, such as paying for housing or medical expenses, it is also a sign of food insecurity – inadequate access to nutritious food” (Goldrick-Rab and Broton).

Ready for the good news?  Many college campuses around the country are preparing to help their students fight food insecurity.  Some campuses have opened food banks or pantries.  At WCCC we know that this is a problem and we want to address it.  Our response is a new program called “The Eagle’s Safety Nest”.  Through this program, students who are experiencing issues with hunger can get help.

Goldrick-Rab, Sara, and Katharine Broton.  “To Cut Costs, College Students Are Going Hungry.”  U.S. News & World Report, 13 July 2016,

Kovacs, Kasia.  “New Report: Nearly 25% of College Students Are Hungry.”  Inside Higher Ed, 6 Oct 2016,

Myers, Virginia.  “Hunger on Campus: Food Insecurity Goes to College.”  The American Federation of Teachers, 2 Dec 2016,

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