Since the onset of the pandemic, food insecurity has skyrocketed throughout the United States. One of the hardest hit segments of the population has been students in higher education. Food insecurity now affects one-in-three college students.
According to a survey conducted during the fall 2020 semester from Chegg.org, the research and advocacy arm of the course materials and services company Chegg, nearly one third (29 percent) of students have missed a meal at least once a week since the beginning of the pandemic. In addition, more than half of all students (52 percent) sometimes use off-campus food banks, and 30 percent use them once a month or more.
According to the survey, nearly one third of students reported they had been laid off due to the pandemic, and 40 percent of those who skipped meals said they did so to pay for debt or study materials.
For working class youth, making the decision to go to college means sacrificing basic necessities such as health care, adequate housing, and food security. Under the dire conditions created by the ruling class response to the pandemic, seeking higher education comes at a staggering price for a whole generation of youth.
The cost of college alone is enough to keep working class youth chained to the banks well into old age. The average public university student now borrows $30,030 to attain a bachelor’s degree. The total student debt outstanding in the Federal Loan Portfolio is over $1.56 trillion.
Many working class youth qualify for food assistance programs throughout their tenure at K-12 schools. The USDA National School Lunch Program provides low-cost or free meals to 29.4 million K-12 students of low-income families. The fact that so many children rely on these programs in order to eat each day is a staggering indictment of the difficult conditions facing working class families in the most “advanced” capitalist country in the world.
When these students graduate high school, this…