January is National Poverty in America Awareness Month. Although this issue isn’t something that everyone is impacted by first-hand, it is closer than you think, especially on a college campus.
Poverty is a prevalent issue among college students in their everyday life. Poverty can sometimes be an invisible issue and many do not know that students are struggling to even buy a meal.
According to NPR, Carrie Welton, a policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy, defines a “typical” college student as the ones who enroll into college during senior year of high school and rely on their parents for financial support. Welton also noted that “low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color have a different experience.”
When students grow up in poverty, they definitely can struggle in school more than affluent students. With the pressure to do well in school and worry about their financial situations both inside and outside of school, this can take a toll on a student’s mental health. *some of our thoughts/opinions here to break up the 2 articles information*??
In an article written by CNBC, “food and housing insecurity have been linked to delayed graduation.” With delayed graduation, students are then forced to go into more debt with the school. In some cases, some students may even have to drop out without having a degree. This just continues the cycle of poverty, because without an education, students will have a hard time finding a satisfying job to support themselves.
In a survey conducted by Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, results “indicated that 45 percent of student respondents from over 100 institutions said they had been food insecure in the past 30 days.”
Housing insecurity seems to be just as prevalent as food insecurity. In a survey conducted by the Hope Center, “60% of students from two-year colleges and 48% of students at four-year colleges reported facing some level of housing insecurity. The most common issues were difficulty paying for rent or mortgage increases, as well as utility bills.”
Call to action:
Those who are affected by poverty should not feel any less in this world. It is important to push for excellence instead of pity for those students who are underserved. Your financial status shouldn’t define you or take away your right to receive a quality education.
If you know you are struggling financially, make sure to speak to your financial aid advisors to make sure you get the funding you need.
If you are also feeling stressed, speak up. Communicate your feelings to your advisors or even campus counseling. This stress should not affect a student’s academic performance.