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Hunger on the College Campus

April 29, 2014

downloadAccording to a new study at Western Oregon University, 59 percent of students on that campus were food insecure at least once in the previous year, leading researchers to conclude that “food insecurity seems to be a significant issue for college students.” A similar study conducted in 2009 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa concluded that 21 percent of students faced food insecurity. Nationally, the figure for all households is 14.5 percent, leading most observers to conclude that college students face a higher-than-average level of food insecurity in the United States.

The 2014 Farm Bill makes things worse, limiting students’ eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Blogging at TakePart, Kristina Bravo noted that “Higher tuition and expenses have forced students to cut back on food, and an increasing number of youths from low-income families are enrolling—higher education has long been championed as the key to social mobility. But an empty stomach can only get you so far, and we don’t need a study to prove that.” She’s absolutely correct.

In an era of high-priced meal plans and higher tuition, the “Freshman 15” is increasinly a thing of the past. The question is, what are we doing about it?

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