Earlier this year, several news reports were published that spoke to the gravity of food scarcity among college students. Based on quantitative statistics from the Government Accountability Office, news reporters spoke to the impact of the issue with students in their local communities. The Trellis Financial Security Study completed a quantitative study with 72 college students and produced Studying on Empty: A Qualitative Study of Low Food Security Among College Students.
Below are six of the findings from the study that fill in some of the blanks on how and why students can find themselves facing food insecurity. Many of their personal quotations are within the study, giving great context on their plight and struggles. You can read the full report at https://www.trelliscompany.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Studying-on-Empty.pdf.
Studying on Empty: The Findings
1. While low food security often stems from a scarcity of money, there are other factors like insufficient time, persistent stress, and lack of information that can exacerbate low food security.By Laura Ascione, eCampus News, October 25, 2019
2. Students who struggle with food insecurity often face hard choices in how to allocate their scarce time and often are forced to neglect academic work in order to obtain more steady access to food.
3. Food insecurity is not static, but fluid, subject to catalysts that improve and degrade security.
4. Food security tends to decline when students face employment disruptions, loss of financial aid, family crises, and unexpected costs such as car repairs, rent increases, spike in utility costs, and changes in daycare arrangements.
5. Food security often improves when students find living wage jobs with easy commutes, gain access to financial aid or public benefit programs, receive money or living accommodations from family or romantic partners, and obtain low-price textbooks.
6. When students are able to become food secure, they often report increased sleep, reduced stress, and higher levels of energy.
Studying on Empty: A Qualitative Study of Low Food Security Among College Students
Fernandez, C., Webster, J., & Cornett, A. (2019). Studying on Empty. Trellis Company. Retrieved from: https://www.trelliscompany.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Studying-on-Empty.pdf
Support for College Students Experiencing Food Insecurity: https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/college-food-insecurity-support/
Food Insecurity on College Campuses: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/18/11/food-insecurity-college-campuses