Special Reports

Large Percentage of College Students Face Housing, Hunger Threats, Report Says


Getting a college education is a real challenge to many who cannot afford to pay for tuition and other education-related expenses. But according to a new report, the challenge is even greater for a large percentage of students.

It's because they struggle to meet their basic needs such as food and housing.

"The findings are just common sense, if you are more concerned about where your next meal is or where you can lay your head at night than classroom success, it will impact your grades," J. Luke Wood, director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) and co-author of the report, said in a press release. "When faced with the real threat of hunger or homelessness their focus is survival before success."

The report, "Struggling to survive: Striving to succeed: Food and housing insecurities in the community college," says that about one-third of community college students are faced with the threat of homelessness and housing insecurity. It also says that 12 percent of community college students face hunger.

The report says that the majority of students who face these problems are in developmental education, or remedial classes, in math. The report says that of the students in developmental math, about 74% face threats in housing, while 71% face food insecurity.

The report also found that nearly half of all Black college students face housing instabilities, and nearly one-fourth face hunger problems.

One such student is Brittany Jones, a homeless college student at Laney College in Oakland. According to KQED, Jones keeps in her personal belongings in a storage unit in West Oakland; spends several hours per day on a BART train to get around or get rest; relies on state grants to help her get by; and at times gets a good night's sleep when a friend invites her to a sleepover.

"These students face added challenges and have goals of transferring or earning a degree that may seem even more distant to them than for other students," Nexi Delgado, CCEAL researcher and report co-author, said.

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