The “broke college student” stereotype has reached a new level.
An astounding number of American college students are going hungry or homeless, reported James McWilliams for Pacific Standard, citing a new study by the non-profit Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. It conducted surveys with 167,000-plus students across 101 community colleges and 68 four-year colleges and universities.
Nearly half of respondents said that in the month prior to the survey, they experienced food insecurity — “the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food, or the ability to acquire such food in a socially acceptable manner,” according to the report.
Roughly 50% of two-year college students and 44% of four-year college students in the survey worried their food would run out before they could afford to buy more. Of each group, 30% didn’t eat when they were hungry because they couldn’t afford it.
Housing was also an issue among respondents — 18% of two-year college students and 14% of four-year college students said they were homeless. Some respondents reported staying with a relative or friend, or couch surfing, while others said they lived outdoors, at a shelter, or in a camper.
It’s a side effect of the growing expense of college — tuition has more than doubled since the 1980s. As a result, student loan debt is at an all-time high, according to Student Loan Hero: The national total student debt is over $1.5 trillion and the average student loan debt per graduating student in 2018 who took out loans is $29,800.