In the U.S. one out of every ten college students is homeless and goes to class hungry. There are programs to help feed hungry k-12 students who come from poor families. They are provided free or reduced breakfast, snacks and lunches. But such programs stop at high school graduation. Many poor and middle class college students, therefore, do not eat for days on end. This is a crisis being ignored by many. The problem is caused by our lack of support for those in need.
College living expenses average $17,000 per year. This is for housing and food only. It doesn't include tuition, fees or transportation. Even if a student receives a scholarship for tuition, many other costs are not covered. I believe an educated population is so critical to the health of our economy that all college costs should be covered for all students. But I don't make the rules.
Students are sleeping in cars, parks, under freeway overpasses and in other unsafe areas. Some are able to cope with the stress of homelessness and hunger and make it through to graduation. Many others drop out. How many would succeed if they had a roof over their heads and food in their bellies?
I have a suggestion that would not require any additional infrastructure. Everything is in place except the will to do the right and economically sound thing. Let’s look at each student’s financial aid form. Those who are accepted into college, and do not have the financial resources to buy a student meal plan, should be given one gratis. This does not solve the issue of homelessness, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Do you have an idea for solving the homelessness of two million college students nationwide?
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