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Food Security Is Fluid, Report Says

October 10, 2019
 
 

Food security is a fluid issue for some students, according to a report from the nonprofit Trellis Company, which aims to help student borrowers repay loans and promotes access to higher education.

In the report, "Studying on Empty: A Qualitative Study of Low Food Security Among College Students," Trellis followed 72 students in Texas and Florida for nine months to see how food security affected them. In that time, 36 students were either low or very low food secure at least once.

The research found that stable employment with a living wage, access to supplemental aid, support from social networks, time and personal finance information improved food security. The reverse was also true -- loss of a job or financial aid, changes in support networks, or unexpected bills all impaired food security.

The report also found that low food security created stress for students, leading them to eat out with friends to relieve stress and to spend more money than necessary. Students also often chose less healthy foods to avoid hunger but save time, energy and money.

Trellis recommends that colleges and policy makers create a student-first culture that destigmatizes poverty, teach students about personal finances and nutrition, improve and streamline advising resources, address financial needs of students, and support systemic changes like removing eligibility restrictions for SNAP benefits for college students.

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