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Fight Against Invisible Epidemic: Food Insecurity of College Students

National Public Radio

An alarming study reveals roughly 29% of students at four-year colleges and 38% at two-year schools in the U.S. experience food insecurity. Louisiana Board of Regents, in response, recently designated hunger-free campuses.

All 31 public college and universities in Louisiana and four private universities are now designated as hunger-free campuses. The Louisiana Board of Regents recently approved those designations. That includes 10 schools in northwest and Central Louisiana. The designations follow an alarming study that shows roughly 29% of students at four-year colleges and 38% at two-year schools in the U.S. experience food insecurity. That’s according to a 2020 study. The study also revealed the hunger rate was far greater among students of color.
The board’s deputy commissioner for strategic planning and student success, Susannah Craig, explained how the programs work at each school during a recent interview about the fight against student hunger, broadcast on the public radio program “Louisiana Considered.” “Then the campuses are to sponsor, every year or even more, if possible, a big event around the hunger-free initiative. We also ask that the campuses, the legislation calls for a mechanism by which campuses can get supplies. And we’re not just talking about food. But we’re also talking about auxiliary supplies such as female care or baby supplies, baby diapers, and things like that, that students may not have access to.”

National Public Radio

The research shows that students who are hungry earn lower GPAs and struggle more to earn their degree compared with students who don't have to worry when they will have another meal. Creation of the hunger-free programs came about through Act 719, passed by state lawmakers in 2022.
Those designated higher education institutions must also make sure that students are informed of SNAP benefits and check to see if they can qualify for the program. The 10 institutions in northwest and central Louisiana with the no hunger designation include:
*Centenary College
*Bossier Parish Community College
*Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College
*Southern University Shreveport
*Grambling State University
*Louisiana Tech University
*Northwestern State University.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, and a graduate of the University of Washington, Jeff began his on-air broadcasting career 33 years ago in the Black Hills of South Dakota as a general assignment reporter.