A new report has investigated concerns around student food insecurity in the UK and US, finding that 41% were worried about their food running out, while 35% reported low or very low levels of food security.
Students who lived alone or with fellow pupils were more likely to face food insecurity, while 56% of the students who either lived at home, or had returned to their family once lockdowns began, found their situation to be much more positive.
‘Food Insecurity and Lived Experience of Students (FILES)’ – a collaborative effort from the US’s Oklahoma State University and UK’s Northumbria University, Ulster University and City, University of London – was based on a survey of more than 1,200 students across the UK and US in April 2020.
Increasing Support For Students
Authors of the report have urged the government, as well as stakeholders in higher education, to provide additional support for students, which could be an increase and expansion in maintenance grants and loans or an increase in the value of the hardship fund provided to UK universities.
Doctors and professors familiar with the study agree that this year’s pandemic has highlighted student poverty, and have expressed hope that these revelations will lead to more evidence-based solutions like university food banks or food pantries to alleviate student food insecurity.