When you send your child off to college, you’re probably worried that he’ll sleep in and miss that 7:30 a.m. psych class. But what you might need to be more concerned about is if your child is eating or not.
According to a study from Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, some 36% of students at 66 colleges and universities don’t have enough to eat. The report includes students from both private and public colleges, as well as two-year and four-year universities. It found that 1 in 10 students have sometimes not eaten in an entire day during the past month. (For university students, the number was 6%.)
What’s causing this crisis among college campuses? Well, exorbitant college expenses, insufficient financial aid help, and an increased college population of low-income students are partly to blame.
As if food insecurity weren’t enough for college kids to contend with, some are struggling to pay for their housing and associated utilities. Case in point: some 46% of community college students and 36% of university students don’t have enough to cover these needs. Plus, 12% of community college students (and 9% of university students) slept in shelters or other locations—or didn’t know where they would be able to sleep that night.
To ensure that their students are eating, some schools are opening pantries. To date, more than 600 schools and universities have joined the Membership in the College and University Food Bank Alliance, offering canned goods and other food items to hungry students. Colleges are also offering less expensive food options, or even offer free dining hall vouchers to students in need. Some schools have even started screening students who might not be eating enough.
And if you have a child in college, check in with him to ensure that he’s eating enough, and work together to find solutions if money is tight. That way, your child’s college education will feed him, both in body and mind.