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UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Food stamp benefits expire, food insecurity among college students rises

Congress passed provisions to make obtaining food stamp benefits easier. The provisions expired in June, causing college student food insecurity to resurge.
Students+walk+past+vending+machines+in+the+FAU+breezeway.
Erika Fletcher
Students walk past vending machines in the FAU breezeway.

Food insecurity is one of the biggest issues facing college students across the country, says American Dining Creations (ADC), an organization that provides institutional food services. 

According to ADC, “A staggering one in three college students face food insecurity.” Most recently, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has suffered a major hit in Congress’ fight against the debt ceiling.

In 2020, Congress passed provisions in order to make obtaining SNAP benefits much easier by raising maximum benefits by 15% along with allowing those students with an Expected Family Contribution of zero to automatically qualify for these benefits. These provisions wore off at the beginning of June 2023, making food insecurity an even bigger issue for these students already struggling.

One of the many food drives around the Boca Raton FAU campus implemented by Student Government’s “Owls Ending Hunger” program. (Erika F)

Cailyn Gordon, a sophomore marketing major at FAU, is one of many experiencing the effects of food insecurity on campus.

“My body definitely took the hit where I was so tired and could barely focus and my body was aching, and there were times I would be at work and almost pass out,” Gordon said. 

Clare Prather, a senior public safety major, is also one of many experiencing the impact of food insecurity. 

“Food insecurity has affected me tremendously in a mental and physical way. Mentally it’s hard because it is depressing not knowing when your next meal will be. Physically it’s damaging because it messes with the body, and leads to being malnourished, loss of weight and other health issues,” Prather said. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2019, many Americans have been experiencing the effects of hyperinflation, whether it’s with food, housing or schooling. This battle has been especially tough on those college students who were relying on these benefits, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy . A student at the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that “nearly 1.5 million students nationwide receive SNAP benefits.”

However, CLASP also found that only four in ten students eligible for SNAP benefits are making use of them. 

“[Before] COVID-19, the SNAP benefit system was already complicated and that itself was already a barrier,” Carrie Welton, an expert from The Institute for College Access and Success, said in a statement to the University Press.

Welton expressed the urgency of advocating for program simplifications, showing the urgency of food insecurity which has affected many individuals not only on Florida Atlantic’s campuses but throughout the nation. 

Welton suggested a proposal for FAU to reconsider its meal plan policy. Her suggestion entails eliminating the mandatory requirement for students to purchase meal plans. Instead, students would have the flexibility to allocate those funds towards purchasing nutritious food to their specific requirements. 

Additionally, she recommended establishing a collaboration with Swipe Out Hunger, a non-profit organization. This partnership would involve donating surplus food swipes to students in need and engaging in policy advocacy efforts to foster hunger-free campuses on a national scale.

Haley Sciole is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this story or others, you can email Haley at [email protected] or DM her instagram @HaleySciole.

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About the Contributor
Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a junior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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