According to a recently published report from the Urban Institute, students who attend community college are more likely to experience food insecurity than students at four-year institutions. Close to one in five community college students have trouble finding food, and that number rises to 28% for black students at two-year institutions. Though these numbers appear to be dropping since the 2008 recession, the Urban Institute suggests that this is still a problem that needs to be addressed.
For students attending four-year institutions, about 12% live food insecure. Students who attend four-year colleges are more likely to be from wealthy families than students who attend community college, hence the lower percentage of students who need help with food. One study reports higher numbers, like 67% of community college students saying they are food insecure, though this was based on a questionnaire with low response rates.
It makes sense that community college students would be more likely to experience food insecurity, being that community college is cheaper and more flexible for students who work, raise families, and more. In Tennessee, two-year community college is free to all students; this is a great thing, but that doesn’t mean that Tennessee students don’t experience problems with food outside of school.
For people ages 21-25, food insecurity rates for community college students sit higher than the national average of all people in that age range, but food insecurity rates for four-year students sit lower. The Urban Institute suggests that a targeted approach is needed to address this issue, as is needed for the umbrella problem of hunger in our country.
(Photo by Salim Fadhley)
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