An alarming number of college students today are lacking access to stable sources of food, shelter, and other living essentials. According to a recent study, more than half of the respondents are showing signs of food insecurity, more than 40% experienced food insecurity, and over 10% reported homelessness. Students of color and other marginalized groups are the most at risk of facing these challenges, however, this is an issue that currently plagues all college students nationwide.
Basic needs insecurity jeopardizes student success and graduation rate, and the reasons for which are significant. There has been a noticeable decrease in public funding, an increase in tuition, and a general lower population of financially stable college applicants. Although many institutions and organizations have attempted to combat this crisis, the problem still remains that a college degree is much less attainable in today’s society.
Some of the main barriers to accessing needed support is the lack of awareness of available support, the “not-me” mindset, and the lack of knowledge on how to apply for help. Despite these barriers, studies show that of students who received emergency aid, nearly 70% said that the funding increased their chances of graduating. The bottom line? Removing existing financial barriers and investing in basic need support is the first and most important step in improving the lives of students across the United States.