About a quarter of students at 66 universities and colleges in the United States said they had gone hungry in the previous month, researchers said from the largest survey to measure hunger on campuses. Researchers, said high-living costs, including tuition fees in some instances, might explain the results.
"For students who need to spend a certain amount of time at school not working, the jobs that they can get are generally low-paying," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "They're forced to cut back."
Researchers quizzed 43,000 students at universities and community colleges in 20 states and the District of Columbia last year. About 20 percent of university students said a lack of money meant they had been hungry and had not eaten in the previous month. That proportion increased to 24 percent for those registered in community colleges, which primarily offer lower-cost two-year programs. Other students ate less or skipped meals due to money worries. This study found that hunger disproportionately affected marginalized students, such as former foster youth, LGBT students, as well as African-Americans and Native Americans.
Poverty among students that often goes unnoticed, said Nicole Kasper, a post-doctoral fellow in nutritional sciences at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, who has researched food insecurity on campuses. Kasper was surprised by the results of a 2016 study she co-authored that found four in 10 students surveyed at her upscale school faced hunger, she said.
"At our university, there's a big stereotype about the students being really wealthy," she said