Students Increasingly Turn to Campus Food Pantries

This is the first I’ve heard of such a thing and there are a handful of universities nearby. I wonder if part of that can be attributed to living in the relatively low cost Midwest vs the Boston area? No mention of if these students are taking financial aid on top of working or not – I’m not doubting that they have it rough because I’ve been there but I was able to make it work by taking out extra in loans.

Of course, suggesting that loans + extra loans + full time job is what needs to be done to attend college is insane.

Page not found?

EDIT: Yeah the US pay your own way thing is… crazy. And it keeps getting crazier in the information society where people more and more need higher education just to find a job.

EEDIT2: You should have included this quote:

College students can face unique barriers trying to get help off campus. For example, some don’t work enough hours to qualify for food stamps or they are ineligible because they are still considered dependents of their parents, Fan-Chan said.

That’s so messed up. When was the last time someone tried to get food vouchers for giggles?

Whoops! That should fix it. I got a little overzealous in removing the extra referral crap from the URL.

Unless they’re going to community college, I think this is honestly more symbolic than financial. The cost of college tuition and supplies dwarfs the cost of basic food or what you could effectively earn on minimum wage.

I think you either accept that you’re going to go into debt to go to college or go the community college route, followed by a cheap state school, after working a few years to save up.

Getting your food at a food bank isn’t going to make a huge impact on your debt load for a traditional 4-year college, when calculated as a percentage.

If you read the article, it’s not symbolic. The various colleges set these programs up because students weren’t eating. While food costs are a small percentage of the total costs of going to college, clearly there are students who are getting enough assistance to pay for tuition but not enough to pay for tuition and food.

The cheapest option is do 4 years in the military then have them pay for your schooling.

Won’t pay for grad school- but you can get a full undergrad on the GI Bill at a state school and a stipend these days.

I did read the article. I don’t mean symbolic from the school’s perspective. I mean symbolic (or at least financially insubstantial) from the students’ perspective. They should take out another 1K-2K or so in loans. Scrimping on food is losing the forest for the trees, when you’re faced with college tuition, housing, and book costs.

The work-your-way thing is a legacy of the mid-20th century with a) fewer people actually wanting to attend college, b) very low state college tuition, and c) unskilled and semiskilled job salaries that were high enough that you could actually pay some substantial amount of tuition with them.

Since the colleges noticed that they could increase their tuitions at some enormous advance over inflation back in the 70s (I think that’s when they started to take off at private universities) and that loans would just increase to keep pace, the system has broken. It’s just like hospitals charging $100K to the uninsured for a one-night stay because it provides a basis for negotiation of fees with the insurance companies for the bulk of their patients. The whole thing is just completely corrupt, as the mere existence of the NCAA obviously demonstrates. /Rant off.

When I was in school, we basically lived like paupers… we ate ramen as a staple, mainly because it was 7 cents.

Even so, a big part of that was that we wanted to spend our money on beer… the money we earned from working a minimum wage job was easily enough to eat on.

When you are a college student and don’t have to support anyone other than yourself, it really doesn’t cost you much to live. I’m not sure what is causing the problem for these folks.

Had a friend do that in the Canadian military. Got his engineering degree paid for. Granted, our tuition is a lot cheaper up here, but he really had no money and wanted the education.

I lived like a poor man when I went through college. I went out for drinks with friends once a week on ‘cheap night’ ($2 highballs) and only bought 2-3. Beyond that, everything else went to school / living.

This is turning into a “how can anyone be hungry on minimum wage” thread. It’s not that difficult these days. If you managed to get by 20 years ago, consider that living costs, particularly housing, have risen faster than the minimum wage.

A community college in California will still cost you $1k plus a semester, including books. A state college will run $4k a semester including books. I have been paying for this things.

What was the thread before? For me, it’s a question of how you can be willing to make a decision to take on 20K-40K (the cost for UMASS, the school in the article) a year in cost/debt for school but not plan to take out another 1-2K for food? Unless your family is wealthy, you are going to take on debt going to a 4-year college. So, take the debt necessary to do that without starving, rather than trying to cut costs by 5%-10%, on something as essential as food.

As I said earlier, it’s a forest for the trees issue. Students should be making the financial decision at a more substantial point: should I go to college or should I be going to this college (instead of community college)?

The “add a couple grand to your loan for food” thing assumes that college kids make sound financial decisions normally.

Yeah. College tends to be the first foray into financial management that most kids have. When I was that age, I know that I budgeted to an insane level of detail, but I made silly assumptions and only planned for the “happy path” scenario – the first unexpected car repair bill shot the whole plan to matchsticks.

The other scenario is that the kids’ tuition is being taken care of by their parents, to include the loan. The kid takes out the loan for whatever the parents agree to; the loan is in the kid’s name, but the parents agree to pay it off. The kid agrees to work a summer job to pay for incidentals and food. In this case, you’ve got a set amount of funds going into the school year and you try and plan to stretch that out for the entire term… but about 2/3 of the way through, you’ve exhausted it.

Another option is kids receiving financial aid receive some of the aid up front. I remember at my daughters orientation they went through discussing the issuance of debit cards to kids who received various financial aid packages. Some of them received the money up front for the entire semester. So they were given food money (debit card for use at campus food sources) but that it was the students job to budget for it, not the schools job.

As I recall, that’s not how college loans work. They’d need to seek out a food loan separately, as doesn’t the lender pay the school directly in the case of student loans?

Just glancing at where I went to college in MA it looks like rent has gone up 2.5 to 3 times from when I was in college while minimum wage has barely doubled, so I think kids today may also be feeling more of a bite from the cost of housing. Also most students would probably only be working part time as well.

Not when I got college loans (the 90’s for undergrad and early 2000’s for grad). I always received a check for the housing/books/expenses portion. Tuition component went straight to the school, for government loans. For private loans, it all went straight to me.

Depending on the school, it is very possible that the maximum amount of government loans would not have been enough to cover costs, in which case private loans would be necessary to make up the difference. Students are either underborrowing or picking schools that are beyond their means or risk-tolerance.

Looked into doing loans with my kid, and the setup basically involved money going to the school if there was any balance (including meal plans), and then a check being cut for the rest. Of course, that’s just anecdotal - it may be different at other universities.