College Students Report Experiencing Homelessness, Food Insecurity 

High Levels of Housing and Food Insecurity Found at Community Colleges across the U.S.


A new study finds significant numbers of community college students at a variety of institutions around the United States report high levels of food and housing insecurity, according to an article by Inside Higher Ed. The study reveals that 13 percent have experienced some form of homelessness as a student, and more than half said they have experienced at least some level of food insecurity. 

HOPE (Harvesting Opportunities for Postsecondary Education) released the study with the Association of Community College Trustees, the nonprofit Single Stop, and the annual web-based Healthy Minds Study. Web surveys were sent to a random sample of students at 10 community colleges across the country with a response rate of 9 percent or 4,312 students. Some of the colleges were in areas with a lower than average poverty rate, while others had high rates of poverty. 

The study used six indicators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to measure food insecurity. The survey included questions to determine food insecurity, such as “The food that I bought just didn’t last and I didn’t have money to get more,” which 39 percent agreed with, or answered yes or no to questions such as, “Were you ever hungry but didn’t eat because there wasn’t enough money for food?” to which 22 percent said yes. Just under half the respondents had scores that indicated “high security,” while 52 percent reported at least some insecurity. One in five reported “very low security.” Over half of the students surveyed also reported that they had experienced some form of housing insecurity in the past year, with 13 percent having experienced homelessness in the past year. 

“Such high rates of food and housing insecurity among hardworking college students indicate that the nation faces a serious crisis,” wrote one of the authors of the study.



Photo: Iowa City, IA via photopin (license)