Are you part of the third?

According to a new report, one third of college students suffer from housing insecurity and food shortages. Are you part of the third?

Alexa Ledari, staff writer for US News wrote a report “More Than One-Third of College Students Don’t Have Enough Food.”  According to Ledari’s report, results from a new survey, conducted by researchers from Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, show “that more than one-third of college students in the United States were not able to get enough food in a given month and 36 percent faced housing insecurity issues.”  These researchers “surveyed 43,000 students and 66 institutions, including 35 four-year universities and colleges, as well as community colleges, in 20 states and the District of Columbia.”

In the report, Ledari states, “of the students who said they suffered from insecurity, most…said they couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals.”  Ledari also wrote about the study saying, “thirty-one percent of two-year institution students and 25 percent of four-year institution students said they cut the size of their meals or skipped meals entirely because they didn’t have enough money for food.”

When students here at Virginia Wesleyan University were asked if they could afford other dining options outside of their meal plans, about half of the students said they could while the other half said they could not.  For example, freshman Shannon Harris said, “I can barely afford food off campus…I’m struggling.”

According to Ledari, the report about the survey “also examined the demographics of [the students] who experienced food or housing insecurity.”

When asked if they would eat healthier if they had more options than that which the grille and dining hall offer, senior Sheril Steinberg answered saying, “For sure. There is no doubt that I would have a healthier diet if there were appetizing healthy food options.”

According to Ledari’s report, the study said, “The bottom line is clear: Educational attainment in the United States is being hindered by neglect…Students’ basic needs must be secured if they are to learn at any level.”  The study also said, “For more than a decade, researchers have demonstrated the need and explained its scope and dimensions. The next and very necessary step is action.”

Junior Brandon Foster said, “I think I have enough [meal swipes] but prices need to go down in order for me to eat comfortably.”  Researchers from this study suggest; “funds for living expenses in scholarships, expanding public benefits access for students and create more food pantries at colleges and universities.”

Sarah Tucker