Study of Student Basic Needs
This report describes a survey that focused on homelessness and low to very low food security among college students. The researchers distributed the survey to more than 24,000 students across 23 California State University campuses. According to the findings, students who reported food insecurity, homelessness, or both were often dealing with mental and physical health problems that negatively affected their ability to achieve academically. Over the 12-month reporting period, 10.9 percent of students reported experiencing homelessness based on the federal definition of homelessness. The researchers outlined the United States Department of Agriculture definitions of low versus very low food security that they used for the study. The report includes case studies and corroborating data of students with unmet basic needs to demonstrate how these students struggled to meet the demands of daily college life when experiencing chronic material hardship. The authors provide recommendations to address food and housing security among college students. The research data and methodology are also provided. Responding to students who are homeless or food insecure will require complex, long-term approaches to solution building.