New survey spotlights basic needs insecurities among US college students
An increased number of college students are experiencing basic needs insecurity in the US. Source: Moses Vega/Unsplash

Strongly associated with worry and fear, food and housing insecurity can lead college students down a distressing path.

A lack of basic necessities like a safe place to sleep and regular meals can greatly impact a student’s grade success and overall well-being at college or university.

To unravel the reality of college insecurities, The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice conducted a new survey with 86,000-plus students across 123 two- and four-year US institutions.

“Too many students leave college without credentials because life, logistics, and a lack of money got in the way. These #RealCollege students are the new majority, but they are often ignored,” the nonprofit action research centre comments.

Investigating into #RealCollege students’ lives, the recent report suggests that “50% of two-year college students and 44% of four-year college students worry that their food would run out before they could afford to buy more.”

On the accommodation front, “8% of two-year college students and 14% of four-year college students said they were homeless. While other respondents reported staying with a relative or friend, or couch surfing, while others said they lived outdoors, at a shelter or in a camper.”

Additionally, the report discovered that:

  • • 45 percent of respondents had experienced food insecurity in the last 30 days
    • 56 percent of respondents had experienced housing insecurity in the last year
    • 17 percent of respondents had been homeless in the previous year

Highlighting the reality that food and housing insecurities are still a major issue in the US, it’s no doubt disheartening to see that initiatives still need to be developed to help students cope with basic needs insecurity.

“Food and housing insecurity undermine academic success. Housing insecurity and homelessness have a particularly strong, statistically significant relationship with college completion rates, persistence, and credit attainment. Researchers also associate basic needs insecurity with self-reports of poor physical health, symptoms of depression, and higher perceived stress,” the report notes.

Despite the increasing existence of campus food pantries and charities that support students through their university struggles, use of other services that promote economic security may not be as accessible.

With hopes to spur systemic change by igniting awareness to the current insecurities faced by US college students, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice has no doubt enabled  increasing debate and discussion of the issue.

To read the full College and University Basic Needs Insecurity: A National #RealCollege Survey Report from the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, simply click here.

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