Study finds college students going hungry, homeless

Feb 13, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (HAGGARD) — A national expert who looked into college-aged homelessness is in town this month to speak. She says students are having issues keeping housing and that some are going hungry.  

Education policy expert Sara Goldrick-Rab.
Credit Angela Baggetta Communications

Education policy expert Sara Goldrick-Rab started exploring issues facing college students 10 years ago. She didn’t expect to find hungry and homeless students, but she did.

“We thought we’d be hearing about things like not being able to afford books or not being able to buy computers and not being able to buy school supplies,” Goldrick-Rab said. “But one day a woman 18 years old revealed that the trouble she was having in college was that she hadn’t eaten in two days.”

Goldrick-Rab says one issue is that no states require colleges to ask students if they’re getting enough to eat. Some students were having to steal food or dumpster dive. A large number of students were facing eviction or already homeless.

“We started doing surveys of all of those students and we learned that this was a widespread problem,” she said. “That what’s called food insecurity, which is not just not eating what you want to eat — it’s not saying ‘oh I have to eat ramen and I’d rather eat sushi’ — but it’s more like you don’t get access to food on a regular basis.”

Goldrick-Rab is coming to Nashville on Feb. 22. She’s slated to speak at DREAM 2018 — a conference for a network of community colleges.