Still Hungry and Homeless in College
This is the largest national survey assessing the basic needs security of university students. It is the HOPE Lab’s 3rd national survey; the other two focused on community colleges. This year we report on 43,000 students at 66 institutions in 20 states and the District of Columbia. That includes over 20,000 students at 35 4-year colleges and universities, as well as students at community colleges. We find: • 36% of university students were food insecure in the 30 days preceding the survey. This year’s estimate for community college students is 42%, but our larger study last year found 56%. • 36% of university students were housing insecure in the last year. Housing insecurity affected 51% of community college students in last year’s study, and 46% in this year’s study. • 9% of university students were homeless in the last year. In comparison, 12% of community college students were homeless in this year’s survey, and 14% in last year’s survey. The data show that basic needs insecurities disproportionately affect marginalized students and are associated with long work hours and higher risk of unemployment. However, the level of academic effort – in and outside the classroom—is the same regardless of whether or not students are dealing with food and housing insecurity. It is therefore critically important to match their commitments with supports to ensure degree completion.