Hunger grows among college students

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, April 14, 2014

When Paul Vaughn, an economics major, was in his third year at George Mason University, he decided to save money by moving off campus. He figured that skipping the basic campus meal plan, which costs $1,575 for 10 meals a week each semester, and buying his own food, would make life easier.

But he had trouble affording the $50 a week he had budgeted for food and ended up having to get two jobs to pay for it. “Almost as bad as the hunger itself is the stress that you’re going to be hungry,” said Vaughn, 22, now in his fifth year at GMU in Fairfax. “I spend more time thinking, ‘How am I going to make some money so I can go eat?’ and I focus on that when I should be doing homework or studying for a test.”

A problem known as “food insecurity” — a lack of nutritional food — is not typically associated with U.S. college students.

But it is increasingly on the radar of administrators, who report seeing more hungry students, especially at schools that enroll a high percentage of youths who are from low-income families or are the first generation to attend college.

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