Food Insecurity

A Hidden Barrier to Higher Education

Teachers, school staff, and families have long been concerned about children in the K–12 education system going hungry, and for good reason. In addition to obvious struggles, children who go hungry tend to experience a range of adverse effects in their behaviors, thoughts, and academic outcomes.1 Worse, these effects are found for “food insecurity,” which represents a broader scope of need than actually going hungry. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), food insecurity is “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”2

Shouldn’t the same adverse effects be expected among college students?

Borrowing from various college student retention theories and models, we believe that negative outcomes related to students’ academic performance and persistence are not primarily related to the students themselves but to a series of systemic barriers and challenges—including food insecurity—that institutions may not be fully equipped to meet.3 While food insecurity is a broad systemic socioeconomic issue that no institution will solve alone, there are steps that institutions and policymakers can take to understand it better and to help meet students’ basic needs, which can result in better academic performance and a stronger chance to persist.4

Food Security of College Students

For years, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice conducted a national survey to examine the prevalence of college student food insecurity. In 2020, the Hope Center reported the results of data collected over five years (2015–2019). The data suggested that 43 percent of college students experienced some degree of food insecurity and that a higher percentage of students who attended two-year institutions were food insecure (about 50 percent) compared to those who attended four-year institutions (about 38 percent).5 Further highlighting the issue’s importance, a recent meta-analysis including 51 studies found that an estimated 41 percent of college students experienced some level of food insecurity.6 And in July 2023, data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study were released, showing that early in the pandemic, 23 percent of undergraduate students were food insecure. Some sector differences were found, with the highest rates of food insecurity at for-profit colleges (33 percent) followed by community colleges (23 percent), four-year public institutions (21 percent), and four-year private institutions (19 percent).7

Many researchers, staff, and administrators have recognized the importance of better understanding college student food insecurity and of figuring out which students are likely to be food insecure. Unsurprisingly, there is a consistent relationship between being less socioeconomically advantaged and being food insecure. Research also suggests that first-generation status8 and Pell eligibility9 are regularly linked with college student food insecurity. Studies have also established relationships between race and food security. For instance, students who report being a racial or ethnic minority and who come from food-insecure households are more likely to experience food insecurity.10 And various studies have documented a relationship between gender, race, and students’ food insecurity.11

Recent studies have moved the conversation toward other factors that need more attention. For example, several have identified that LGBTQIA+ students are also more likely to be food insecure,12 as are international students.13 The field now has a good foundation to help researchers and practitioners better understand which students are likely to be food insecure—but more detailed research would enable more targeted interventions to help meet students’ basic needs. Research should be intentional in bringing increased clarity on not only who is food insecure but also the degree to which students are likely to be food insecure. Simply said, the intensity of food insecurity matters.14

College Students’ Experiences

Researchers are beginning to understand how food security may be related to students’ distress, motivation, and engagement.15 Consistently, food-insecure students report higher levels of distress,16 which can result in a lack of motivation,17 may hinder the development of social relationships,18 and is related to lower academic performance and persistence.19

College student food security has also been linked with social development. Food-insecure students have indicated a lower sense of belonging on college campuses20 and have suggested a lowered ability to generate friend groups.21 As with psychological distress, social development and elements of a sense of belonging are related to students’ satisfaction with their institutions22 and to academic performance and persistence.23 Below, we detail some innovative interventions that address the intersections of food security and basic needs supports, and nonacademic and academic outcomes.

Academic Performance and Persistence

One of the earliest questions surrounding college student food insecurity has been about the impact on academic performance and persistence. Often, research has found that food-insecure students have significantly lower cumulative GPAs than food-secure students,24 and unsurprisingly, college GPA is a critical factor in college persistence.25 Independently, persistence is also correlated with food insecurity.26

However, few studies have attended to temporal sequencing, instead capturing a cross-section of students. Doing so presents issues with survival bias; if there is a relationship between food security and academic performance (and persistence), those who come to college food insecure during their first year are likely to have lower first-year GPAs and are less likely to persist into later years.27 Therefore, studies capturing data beyond the first year without attending to temporal sequencing primarily capture the information of those who “survived.”

Some recent studies have begun to account for temporal sequencing.28 One gauged first-time incoming students’ food security within two weeks of the start of the fall semester.29 Importantly, this study did not collapse food insecurity into a binary; it generated a continuous scale so that these relationships are a measure of outcomes as related to the intensity of food insecurity. The results indicated that food insecurity was negatively related to first-semester GPA and first-semester credits earned, and it was marginally significantly related to a lower chance of fall-to-spring persistence.


Clearly, interventions to meet students’ basic needs are critical. While most of the interventions we describe below are policy and institution focused, we want to start with a crucial message: professionals like you can help make a difference for individual students. Since real and perceived stigmas against receiving food assistance are barriers for students,30 educators and counselors in high schools and colleges should start normalizing uptake of community and college supports aimed at easing food insecurity. Furthermore, high school counselors could identify which postsecondary campuses students are most likely to attend and invite representatives to provide information to students and teachers about campus supports. Given that precollege behaviors often predict college behaviors, helping students understand the value of engagement in supports to ease food insecurity precollege could result in more students having a positive college experience and attaining certificates or degrees.

The Promising Power of SNAP

In 2021, Congress temporarily amended the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to increase access for college students.31 Despite calls to make these parameters permanent,32 the Republican-led US House of Representatives has been eyeing rollbacks in a future Farm Bill.33 Yet, the recent infighting in the House has stymied these efforts and the future of SNAP benefits remains unclear.34 Fortunately, states can independently expand SNAP eligibility—as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have done for community college students and as California has done for students attending any higher education institution at least half time.

Before the pandemic-related SNAP modifications, roughly 31 percent of SNAP-eligible students (two million students) were enrolled.35 This low uptake rate stems from changes in the 1980s when Congress modified the rules to make students enrolled in college at least half time ineligible unless they qualified for exemptions. Under these changes, 80 percent of formerly eligible college students lost access to SNAP benefits.36

As with many social welfare programs, SNAP has been crafted or modified around conversations of “deservingness.” Moralistic values are generally placed upon individuals perceived to access the social benefit. A famous example of deservingness that has lasted since the 1980s is “welfare queen” rhetoric, which uniquely combined false ideations of women, particularly Black women.37 Pertaining to college students, in the 1980s US Secretary of Education William Bennett levied public accusations that students were wasteful with government grants by using the funds to buy cars and to go on three-week vacations at the beach. As a result, the US government dramatically scaled back federal grants to students.38 The politics of deservingness still maintains barriers to college students’ ability to access SNAP and restricts policymakers’ interest in expanding eligibility.39

The lack of uptake due to intentional features makes researching the effects of SNAP on college students’ academic performance and persistence difficult. However, recent evidence suggests that when university students in California engaged in SNAP (a.k.a. CalFresh), students’ food security increased, and SNAP engagement was related to increased college GPAs.40 Supporting these findings, another study showed that food insecurity was eased for California college students participating in SNAP.41 Research is limited, but given that SNAP seems to ease college student food insecurity, conclusions from non-SNAP studies suggest that students who access SNAP are likely to experience lower psychological distress, stronger measures of sense of belonging, and increased academic performance and persistence.42

Despite the promising power of SNAP to ease college students’ food insecurity, it is painfully obvious that this program will continue to be a political football. With any regime change, the SNAP program could see changes at the federal or state level. Therefore, campuses and their partners must continually think about how to better measure who may be food insecure and implement interventions divorced from SNAP. Next, we discuss some examples of campus-level interventions.

Promising Campus-Based Interventions

When campuses either do not address or provide inadequate supports to ease food insecurity, students may feel dissatisfied with their campuses or disenfranchised.43 The lack of support may lead students to feel hopeless.44 Wanting to address these problems, researchers and practitioners have tried a variety of interventions. In this section, we focus on interventions that have generated measurable impacts, from low-touch and low-cost interventions to more invasive and expensive examples.45

One of the most common interventions is aimed at encouraging students to enroll in SNAP or engage with food pantries.46 One way to encourage students to remember or engage with supports is through nudging. Nudging often includes a series of communications (via email or text) to remind students of resources like a food pantry and to encourage uptake. While nudging may not be effective at large scale,47 it remains possible that nudges are well suited to narrowly targeted audiences or to very specific behaviors.

Research suggests nudging could help students better identify and engage with the basic needs supports on campus. For example, at Amarillo College students who were nudged to engage with basic supports did so to a much higher degree (56 percent) than those who did not receive the messages (26 percent). However, this intervention was not related to student performance or persistence.48 Other research suggests that if nudges can assist with easing students’ food insecurity, doing so may translate to better first-year retention. For example, a study in which a very narrowly targeted sample of students who were most likely to leave Western Michigan University was randomly assigned to a nudging intervention (in which students were emailed) found a 12-percentage-point increase in retention.49 The authors theorized that this outcome was partly related to emailed students reporting an increase in food security.* The estimated total cost for this program was under $5 per intended student treated. Future nudging interventions should consider keeping the sample, messaging scope, and intended behaviors narrow.

Another popular intervention has been providing food-insecure students with meal vouchers.50 Recently, a community college program provided food-insecure students with a debit card that could be used at the campus cafeteria or café through an initiative called the MVP program. The debit cards were loaded with $300 for the fall semester and $400 for the spring semester. Additionally, the debit cards were reloaded with $400 for each semester of the students’ second year of enrollment. A study found that, compared with the control group, students in the MVP program had earned 2.23 more credits, and attempted 1.48 more, by the end of the first semester—and the same trend persisted into the second year. Of particular interest, a higher share of MVP-treated students (5 percent) earned a credential after two years, as opposed to the group who did not receive a debit card (1 percent).51 While the evidence is currently limited, directly providing students with meal vouchers seems to produce beneficial academic outcomes.

On the more expensive side, some institutions have identified issues of food insecurity at the intersection of student behavior and engagement—and despite limited budgets, they have engaged in creative solutions. For example, Imperial Valley College (IVC) surveyed its students and identified over 200 students who required basic needs assistance. IVC then bought 12 RVs to shelter students and help develop a stronger sense of belonging. After this pilot intervention, which showed average GPAs moved from 1.9 to 2.6, IVC invested in creating a tiny-home community to address basic student needs. Now, future expansions are expected, along with multiple million-dollar investments.52 IVC is a clear example of what could happen when institutions work toward understanding who has unmet basic needs (beyond food insecurity) and seek innovative solutions. However, without the help of local and state partners, as IVC has, most institutions are unable to meet students’ basic needs in this manner.

Remaining Gaps

One glaring gap in our understanding is that we have limited information on what interventions work, with which students they may work, in what contexts they may work, and if outcomes would be relatively consistent across settings and programs. Therefore, once institutions better understand who is food insecure, we encourage campuses to design interventions that may have worked in other contexts (when it makes sense).

Another gap in our understanding is based on sequencing. The field needs to be more intentional in understanding who is arriving at college food insecure and to what degree. As detailed above, coming to college hungry relates to students’ experiences and academic outcomes, even first-semester outcomes.53 Therefore, identifying food-insecure students should be an immediate concern. Consider how much better prepared institutions would be if they included the six-item USDA scale with financial aid packages. If campuses identified who was food insecure, they could be immediately more intentional in nudging students to participate in SNAP and engage with on-campus supports; they could also provide meal vouchers, especially for the most food-insecure students.

Lastly, many college campuses have realized the importance of addressing students’ mental distress and have placed an increased emphasis on both in-person and remote mental health supports54—but they may be doing so without knowing about or attending to food insecurity as a cause of mental distress. Likewise, many campuses have become more intentional in better understanding sense of belonging (and related social aspects) and in developing interventions—but are food-insecure students served just as well by these interventions and supports as food-secure students? Or does a fundamental lack of understanding of the intersection of sense of belonging and food insecurity help produce differential outcomes as students’ basic needs are not addressed? Such knowledge gaps require more narrowed research examining whether food-insecure students are equally benefiting from available supports as food-secure students, or if food-insecure students are still slipping through the cracks as their basic physical, psychological, and social needs remain unmet.

Overall, food insecurity among college students is widespread. Recently, many researchers and decision makers have become increasingly interested in this topic; we expect the field will soon have a stronger sense of the issue—including a stronger understanding of what interventions may or may not work as intended. While the field catches up to testing interventions that may produce intended effects, we must be more proactive in identifying which students are food insecure as they transition to college so that we can immediately guide them toward the resources that exist to help make their lives better and improve their opportunities for academic success.

Daniel A. Collier is an assistant professor of Higher and Adult Education at the University of Memphis, where Brittany E. Perez is a graduate research assistant. Collier is also a research fellow with the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College and the University of California–Irvine Law School via the Student Loan Law Initiative.

*The authors highlight various issues with their design due to limitations related to not being able to track whether students opened or read emails and text messages and various barriers kept in place by administrators. (return to article)


1. P. Shankar, R. Chung, and D. Frank, “Association of Food Insecurity with Children’s Behavioral, Emotional, and Academic Outcomes: A Systematic Review,” Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics 38, no. 2 (2017): 135–50.

2. Economic Research Service, “Definitions of Food Security,” US Department of Agriculture, October 17, 2022,

3. D. Collier et al., “Structuring First-Year Retention at a Regional Public Institution: Validating and Refining the Structure of Bowman’s SEM Analysis,” Research in Higher Education 61, no. 8 (2020): 917–42; and J. Kitchen et al., “Ecological Validation Model of Student Success: A New Student Support Model for Promoting College Success Among Low-Income, First-Generation, and Racially Minoritized Students,” Journal of College Student Development 62, no. 6 (2021): 627–42.

4. K. Broton, M. Mohebali, and S. Goldrick-Rab, “Meal Vouchers Matter for Academic Attainment: A Community College Field Experiment,” Educational Researcher 52, no. 3 (2023): 155–63; and D. Collier, D. Fitzpatrick, and A. Nichols, “Experimental Evidence on Which Academic Outcomes Nudging Can Shift for First-Year College Students from High-FRL Schools,” Social Science Research Network, June 7, 2021,

5. C. Baker-Smith et al., #RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity During the Ongoing Pandemic (Philadelphia: Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, March 2021),

6. Nikolaus et al., “Food Insecurity Among College Students.”

7. B. McKibben, J. Wu, and S. Abelson, “New Federal Data Confirm That College Students Face Significant—and Unacceptable—Basic Needs Insecurity,” Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, Temple University, August 3, 2023,

8. Collier et al., “Structuring First-Year Retention”; and A. Davidson and J. Morrell, “Food Insecurity Prevalence Among University Students in New Hampshire,” Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 15, no. 1 (2020): 118–27.

9. K. Camelo and M. Elliott, “Food Insecurity and Academic Achievement Among College Students at a Public University in the United States,” Journal of College Student Development 60, no. 3 (2019): 307–18; D. Collier et al., “Helping Students Keep the Promise: Exploring How Kalamazoo Promise Scholars’ Basic Needs, Motivation, and Engagement Correlate to Performance and Persistence in a 4-Year Institution,” Innovative Higher Education 44 (2019): 333–50; and K. Mialki et al., “Covid-19 and College Students: Food Security Status Before and After the Onset of a Pandemic,” Nutrients 13, no. 2 (2021): 628.

10. K. Broton, K. Weaver, and M. Mai, “Hunger in Higher Education: Experiences and Correlates of Food Insecurity Among Wisconsin Undergraduates from Low-Income Families,” Social Sciences 7, no. 10 (September 2018): 179,

11. L. Morris et al., “The Prevalence of Food Security and Insecurity Among Illinois University Students,” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 48, no. 6 (2016): 376–82; D. Willis, “Feeding the Student Body: Unequal Food Insecurity Among College Students,” American Journal of Health Education 50, no. 3 (2019): 167–75; and A. El Zein et al., “Prevalence and Correlates of Food Insecurity Among U.S. College Students: A Multi-Institutional Study,” BMC Public Health 19, no. 1 (2019): 660.

12. Collier et al., “Structuring First-Year Retention”; K. Diamond, M. Stebleton, and R. delMas, “Exploring the Relationship Between Food Insecurity and Mental Health in an Undergraduate Student Population,” Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice 57, no. 5 (2020): 546–60; and Willis, “Feeding the Student Body.”

13. Collier et al., “Structuring First-Year Retention”; and A. Zein et al., “Why Are Hungry College Students Not Seeking Help?: Predictors of and Barriers to Using an On-Campus Food Pantry,” Nutrients 10 (2018): 1163–77.

14. Collier et al., “Structuring First-Year Retention”; and Brescia and Cuite, “Underestimating College Student Food Insecurity.”

15. Collier et al., “Structuring First-Year Retention.”

16. M. Becerra and B. Becerra, “Psychological Distress Among College Students: Role of Food Insecurity and Other Social Determinants of Mental Health,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 11 (2020): 1–12; Collier et al., “Helping Students Keep the Promise”; R. DeBate et al., “Food Insecurity, Well-Being, and Academic Success Among College Students: Implications for Post COVID-19 Pandemic Programming,” Ecology of Food and Nutrition 60, no. 5 (2021): 564–79; and N. Hattangadi et al., “Is Food Insecurity Associated with Psychological Distress in Undergraduate University Students?: A Cross Sectional Study,” Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 16, no. 1 (2021): 133–48.

17. D. Collier et al., “Coming to College Hungry: How Food Insecurity Relates to Amotivation, Stress, Engagement, and First-Semester Performance in a Four-Year University,” Journal of Postsecondary Student Success 1, no. 1 (2021): 106–35,

18. Collier et al., “Coming to College Hungry”; A. Knowlden, C. Hackman, and M. Sharma, “Lifestyle and Mental Health Correlates of Psychological Distress in College Students,” Health Education Journal 75, no. 3 (2016): 370–82; and A. Vaughn, R. Drake, and S. Haydock, “College Student Mental Health and Quality of Workplace Relationships,” Journal of American College Health 64, no. 1 (2016): 26–37.

19. D. Kivlighan et al., “The Role of Mental Health Counseling in College Students’ Academic Success: An Interrupted Time Series Analysis,” Journal of Counseling Psychology 68, no. 5 (2021): 562–70; and A. Schwitzer et al., “Students with Mental Health Needs: College Counseling Experiences and Academic Success,” Journal of College Student Development 59, no. 1 (2018): 3–20.

20. T. Watson et al., “College Students Identify University Support for Basic Needs and Life Skills as Key Ingredient in Addressing Food Insecurity on Campus,” California Agriculture 71, no. 3 (2017): 130–38; and J. Wood and F. Harris, “Experiences with ‘Acute’ Food Insecurity Among College Students,” Educational Researcher 47, no. 2 (2018): 142–45.

21. Collier et al., “Coming to College Hungry.”

22. X. Fan, K. Luchok, and J. Dozier, “College Students’ Satisfaction and Sense of Belonging: Differences Between Underrepresented Groups and the Majority Groups,” SN Social Sciences 1, no. 1 (2020): 22.

23. N. Bowman et al., “Understanding the Link Between Noncognitive Attributes and College Retention,” Research in Higher Education 60 (2019): 135–52; and Collier et al., “Structuring First-Year Retention.”

24. N. Ahmad, N. Sulaiman, and M. Sabri, “Food Insecurity: Is It a Threat to University Students’ Well-Being and Success?,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 11 (2021): 5627; Brescia and Cuite, “Underestimating College Student Food Insecurity”; M. Patton-López et al., “Prevalence and Correlates of Food Insecurity Among Students Attending a Midsize Rural University in Oregon,” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 46, no. 3 (2014): 209–14; and R. Weaver et al., “University Student Food Insecurity and Academic Performance,” Journal of American College Health 68, no. 7 (2019): 1–7.

25. Bowman et al., “Understanding the Link”; Collier et al., “Coming to College Hungry”; and S. Stewart, D. Lim, and J. Kim, “Factors Influencing College Persistence for First-Time Students,” Journal of Developmental Education 38, no. 3 (2015): 12–20.

26. K. Baugus, “Food Insecurity, Inadequate Childcare, and Transportation Disadvantage: Student Retention and Persistence of Community College Students,” Community College Journal of Research and Practice 44, no. 8 (2020): 608–22; and M. Silva et al., “The Relationship Between Food Security, Housing Stability, and School Performance Among College Students in an Urban University,” Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice 19, no. 3 (2017): 284–99.

27. Collier et al., “Structuring First-Year Retention.”

28. Broton, Mohebali, and Goldrick-Rab, “Meal Vouchers Matter”; and I. van Woerden, D. Hruschka, and M. Bruening, “Food Insecurity Negatively Impacts Academic Performance,” Journal of Public Affairs 19, no. 3 (2019): e1864.

29. Collier et al., “Coming to College Hungry.”

30. C. DeLoach and C. Dickason, “Creating and Institutionalizing a College Food Pantry: Activism, Partnerships, and Volunteer Labor,” Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice (2023).

31. A. Burnside, P. Gilkesson, and P. Baker, Connecting Community College Students to SNAP (Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy, April 2021),

32. L. Spitalniak, “Permanently Expand SNAP Benefits to College Students, Researchers Say,” Higher Ed Dive, May 12, 2022,

33. T. Romm, “Republicans Take Aim at Food Stamps in Growing Fight over Federal Debt,” Washington Post, February 20, 2023,

34. M. Hill, “Behind Closed Doors, Johnson Sounds a Cautious Note on SNAP,” Politico, November 9, 2023,

35. US Government Accountability Office, Food Insecurity: Better Information Could Help Eligible College Students Access Federal Food Assistance Benefits (Washington, DC: 2018),

36. S. Roberts, “Food Stamps Program: How It Grew and How Reagan Wants to Cut It Back; the Budget Targets,” New York Times, April 4, 1981,; and N. Freudenberg, S. Goldrick-Rab, and J. Poppendieck, “College Students and SNAP: The New Face of Food Insecurity in the United States,” American Journal of Public Health 109, no. 12 (2019): 1652–58.

37. A.-M. Hancock, The Politics of Disgust: The Public Identity of the Welfare Queen (New York: NYU Press, 2004).

38. M. Arnone et al., “Ronald Reagan Remembered,” Chronicle of Higher Education, June 18, 2004,

39. M. Dickinson, “SNAP, Campus Food Insecurity, and the Politics of Deservingness,” Agriculture and Human Values 39, no. 2 (2022): 605–16.

40. B. Loofbourrow et al., “Understanding the Role of CalFresh Participation and Food Insecurity on Academic Outcomes Among College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Nutrients 15, no. 4 (2023): 898.

41. A. Nazmi et al., “SNAP Participation Decreases Food Insecurity Among California Public University Students: A Quasi-Experimental Study,” Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 18, no. 1 (2023): 123–38.

42. Becerra and Becerra, “Psychological Distress Among College Students”; Collier et al., “Coming to College Hungry”; and Wood and Harris, “Experiences with ‘Acute’ Food Insecurity.”

43. N. Hattangadi et al., “‘Everybody I Know Is Always Hungry…But Nobody Asks Why’: University Students, Food Insecurity, and Mental Health,” Sustainability 11, no. 6 (2019): 1571.

44. A. Meza et al., “‘It’s a Feeling That One Is Not Worth Food’: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Psychosocial Experience and Academic Consequences of Food Insecurity Among College Students,” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 119, no. 10 (2019): 1713–21 E1.

45. This is by no means an exhaustive list. For a deeper understanding of interventions, we encourage you to read this systemic review: A. Hickey, O. Brown, and R. Fiagbor, “Campus-Based Interventions and Strategies to Address College Students with Food Insecurity: A Systematic Review,” Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 18, no. 1 (2023): 81–95.

46. Hickey, Brown, and Fiagbor, “Campus-Based Interventions.”

47. K. Bird et al., “Nudging at Scale: Experimental Evidence from FAFSA Completion Campaigns,” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 183 (2021): 105–28; and B. Castleman, “Why Aren’t Text Message Interventions Designed to Boost College Success Working at Scale?,” Behavioral Scientist, May 3, 2021,

48. S. Goldrick-Rab et al., Supporting the Whole Community College Student: The Impact of Nudging for Basic Needs Security (Philadelphia: Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, Temple University, 2021).

49. Collier, Fitzpatrick, and Nichols, “Experimental Evidence.”

50. Freudenberg, Goldrick-Rab, and Poppendieck, “College Students and SNAP”; and Hickey, Brown, and Fiagbor, “Campus-Based Interventions.”

51. Broton, Mohebali, and Goldrick-Rab, “Meal Vouchers Matter.”

52. L. Herder, “California’s Community Colleges See the Benefits of Student Housing,” Diverse Issues in Higher Education, February 9, 2023,

53. Collier et al., “Structuring First-Year Retention.”

54. M. Carrasco, “Colleges Seek Virtual Mental Health Services,” Inside Higher Ed, September 20, 2021,; and Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2021 Annual Report: Bringing Science and Practice Together (State College, PA: Penn State Student Affairs, 2022),

[Illustrations by Itziar Barrios]

American Educator, Winter 2023-2024