The Poverty Trap : Community College Students Face Hunger and Homelessness

Are some SCC students having trouble in their classes because they are hungry? According to a study released by the Wisconsin Hope Lab on Wednesday, the answer is probably yes.

The study found that about 66 percent of community college students face food insecurity, and 13 percent are homeless.
“Food and housing insecurity among the nation’s community college students threatens their health and well-being, along with their academic achievements,” stated the study.

This means that college becomes too high a price for students trying to get a degree in order to break the cycle of poverty.
A 2013 Pew Research study found that a majority of Americans believed that “the rich just get richer while the poor get poorer.”

This cycle of poverty is pointed out in the Hope Lab study because it found “65 percent of the 55 million jobs produced in the coming decade will require some higher education or training.” And that many students with food and housing insecurity are less likely to complete their school programs because of distractions including hunger, poor sleep and inability to meet other physical needs.

The study recommended that academic institutions appoint a person or committee to head an effort to assess and address whether students are able to meet their basic needs. It also suggested that housing for mixed-income inhabitants be considered when building on-campus housing, a project that has been in the works at SCC for a while.

-Coral Nafziger

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