EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

College students face high rates of food insecurity

Sep 9, 2022, 11:59 AM | Updated: 1:35 pm

organic food inflation...

Stock photo: Organic fruit stand. If there is a benefit to inflation it might be found at the grocery store, in the organic food section. There, inflation is hitting less hard than in other areas. Photo: Canva

SALT LAKE CITY – As college students start the fall semester, around 40% of them will face food insecurity compared to the 11% the general public faces. This is according to a study by Brigham Young University.

Co-author Rickelle Richards, BYU professor of nutrition, dietetics and food science said that these students lack access to the quantity, quality and variety of foods that make up a healthy diet. 

“For college students in our study, this often manifested as relying on non-perishable foods like ramen noodles, rice and beans when funds were low or when their food supply varied throughout the month or from paycheck to paycheck,” said Richards. 

Richards said some factors are the costs of tuition, housing, rising food prices, general expenditures and the lack of transportation to access affordable foods. 

“Among college students, research has shown a higher risk of food insecurity among first-generation students, community college students,” said Richards. “Students who are working part-time and/or receive financial assistance, students with a low income, students with children, single parents, students of color, and/or students who rent rather than live at home.”

In addition to relying on nutrient-deficient meals, Richards said food insecurity can also manifest into disordered eating patterns leading to obesity or weight loss. 

“They may be more prone to depression and other kinds of psychological distress,” said Richards. “We also see lower academic performance.”

Helping with food insecurity

According to Richards, students have a hard time qualifying for government programs. This includes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or food stamps. Some solutions could be found in visiting the university food pantries, fellow students helping others with transportation to grocery stores and checking in on students who may be struggling. 

Some universities have community gardens where students can grow fruits and veggies to take home. Colleges could also allow students to donate extra meal plan funds to others in need, but Richards said it varies on the college. 

“Approaches vary widely because it depends on how the administration is structured and how their programs are funded, but some campuses have task forces or coordinators who help advertise resources and connect students with help,” said Richards. “Whatever the approach is, I think it works best if it’s student-driven.”

Related: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Education + Schools

Generic image of crime scene tape. A man and a woman were shot in a home in Naples, forcing the nea...

Michael Houck

Shooting near Naples Elementary School forces lockdown, two victims hospitalized

A man and a woman were shot in a home in Naples, forcing the nearby Naples Elementary School to lockdown Wednesday afternoon.

11 hours ago

Students walk to their buses after school at Rose Springs Elementary in Erda, Tooele County, on Thu...

Jessica Lowell & Devin Oldroyd

Application process for the Utah Fits All Scholarship now open

The application for the Utah Fits All Scholarship is now open. The scholarship will allow families to apply for up to $8,000 of state funds.

12 hours ago

taylor swift performing eras tour concert, a new class at weber state focuses on swift...

SAM HERRERA, KSL NEWSRADIO AND MIKE ANDERSON, KSL TV

Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

The Weber State University Taylor Swift class was offered for the first time this spring and filled up quickly.

2 days ago

cellphone schools...

Peter Johnston

Bill that would remove competency test requirement for teachers looks ready to pass

Currently, those pursuing a teaching license in Utah are required to pass a classroom management test. However, it could disappear from Utah's teaching licensure requirements if a bill passes the Senate this week.

2 days ago

After starting the new year with poor air quality, Utah may finally be able to take a breath and fi...

Heather Peterson

New black carbon sensor is more portable but just as accurate, study finds

A new study from the University of Utah finds that recently released black carbon new units are just as accurate in detecting black carbon, but they are more portable and affordable.

2 days ago

A lone American flag waves in the morning breeze Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2002, at the Bonneville Salt F...

Allessandra Harris

Water may be the solution to saving the salt flats

With the Bonneville Salt Flats eroding, newly discovered research may have found a way to save them.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

overhead view of a few aisles in a department store...

Big Deal Outlet

There is a Big Deal coming to Midvale: Local discount chain opens 8th store

If you love the thrill of finding good deals, check out the grand opening of Big Deal Outlet in Midvale from February 29 - March 2.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

College students face high rates of food insecurity