In 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) started their work on a national report covering student food insecurity and the promising programs currently being offered to address this issue at the college level. The research team contacted SparkPoint at Skyline College and requested a full day of interviews with staff, faculty and administrators from across the campus, as well as a confidential student focus group. Data was collected for over a year and the report was released on January 9, 2019 (link below).
Highlights from the report:
- Researchers interviewed universities and colleges from six states. Skyline College was the only community college from California selected for an interview.
- As of September 2018, over 650 colleges reported having a food pantry on campus. This number has been growing steadily.
- Of the 3.3 million students who were potentially eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2016, less than half said they participated.
- The report starts with the following quote, which expresses the impact that student food insecurity can have on the national educational system and budget:
“In fiscal year 2017, the federal government spent over $122 billion in grants, loans and work-study funds through federal student aid programs to help make college accessible to students. This substantial federal investment in higher education is at risk if college students drop out because they cannot afford basic necessities like food.”
- Recommendation: Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) should clarify the rules and share information on how states help eligible students use SNAP.
This report will increase awareness about the national issue of student food insecurity and prompt more lawmakers, colleges and communities to take action. Please share this report with any colleagues and any other interested parties.
If you have any questions about the report or would like to get more involved with programs addressing student food insecurity at Skyline College, please contact Chad Thompson, Director for SparkPoint at Skyline College, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can access the full report here: https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-95.
Article by Chad Thompson