Dr. Goldrick-Rab to Provide Expert Testimony at New Jersey State Senate 

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, Professor of Higher Education Policy and Sociology, will give her expert testimony at the New Jersey State Senate regarding hunger and nutrition in New Jersey's institutions of higher education on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 11:00 am.

“When I first encountered an undergraduate who was struggling to afford to eat while attending college, I was surprised,” said Dr. Goldrick-Rab, “Here was a young woman—18 years old—attending a state university, reporting that one of her biggest challenges was hunger.”

Over time, as Dr. Goldrick-Rab began to survey undergraduates in both community colleges and universities around the country, she learned that there is a serious problem of food insecurity among today’s college students. According to the most recent estimates, based on a 2016 survey of more than 33,000 students attending 70 community colleges in 24 states, as many as two in three community college students are food insecure. This means that they do not have consistent access to nutritionally adequate foods. Furthermore, 33% of students experience the very lowest levels of food security, a condition associated with the feeling of hunger. On March 15, Dr. Goldrick-Rab’s research team will release that new study, conducted with the Association of Community College Trustees and supported by the Kresge Foundation.

In a 2015 study conducted by the HOPE Lab of 4,000 students at 10 community colleges, found that 13% of students experienced anxiety over their food supply, 19% reduced the quality or variety of their diet, and 21% indicated a very low level of food security— or hunger. In addition, 39% of students said that the food they bought did not last and they did not have sufficient money to purchase more.

“Twenty-eight percent cut the size of their meals or skipped meals at least once, and 22% did so on at least three days in the last 30 days,” stated Dr. Goldrick-Rab. “More than one in four respondents (26%) ate less than they felt they should, and 22% said that they had gone hungry due to lack of money.”

For nearly a decade, Dr. Goldrick-Rab tracked 3,000 young adults who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in 2008, with the goal of understanding college affordability and its impact on graduation rates. The results of that unprecedented and exclusive study are revealed in her eye-opening and alarming new book, Paying The Price, that shows with damning clarity that college students drop out overwhelmingly because they cannot afford the price.

- Jane Clauss