During the pandemic, a national student financial wellness survey uncovered disturbing results. In 2020, nearly 3 in 5 college students lack stable access to food, shelter, and other living essentials. More than half of the survey’s respondents showed signs of food insecurity. Over 10% had experiences with homelessness. This collection of struggles to afford a living is known as basic needs insecurity.
Basic needs insecurity causes extensive harm to student health. It also jeopardizes their academic success. Less than 20% of struggling students manage to graduate in 5 years or fewer. This is because when a student is preoccupied with securing food or shelter, they are far more likely to drop or fail classes. Some drop out of college altogether.
At its heart, this is an equity issue. Earning a college degree is one of the surest pathways out of poverty, but low income students are the least likely to attend or finish college. Rising costs of college and pandemic-era financial woes have pushed higher education out of reach for many. Colleges serious about retaining these students need to make their emergency aid programs more known and available. Most students either don’t know about or believe they’re ineligible for assistance.
Infographic Source: https://cpe.ky.gov/ourwork/kyssc.html