For today’s student, financial barriers don’t just end with textbook costs and tuition fees. Even with the various scholarships and aid programs available, there is a great, unspoken need for wraparound services to help students persist to graduation.
On October 8, Grace Moseley, FCAN’s Policy Analyst, hosted a webinar on housing and food insecurity on college campuses and the methods that some Florida institutions are employing to reduce need on their campuses. Joining her were Erin LeDuc, Director of the Center for Women and Men at Daytona State College, and John Aloszka, Student Body President of the University of North Florida.
According to the Hope Center’s 2018 #RealCollege Survey — which was taken by 86,000 students at 90 two-year colleges and 33 four-year institutions in 24 states — 56% of college students nationwide experienced housing insecurity in the past year, while 45% of college students nationwide experienced food insecurity in the past 30 days.
Supporting Students at Daytona State College
LeDuc presented data from Daytona State College, which participated in the survey in 2015. The results were alarming, so the college took action to help its students who struggle with food or housing security.
Daytona State’s Center for Women and Men introduced several initiatives — a food pantry, mentorship programs, free transportation, free cosmetology and barbering, and laundry vouchers, amongst other supports — based on the greatest areas of needs indicated by the survey. These interventions resulted in a 23% decrease in students who identified as food insecure, an 8% reduction in students who identified as housing insecure, and a 7% reduction in students who identified as homeless.
As director of the Center for Women and Men, LeDuc emphasized the importance of community collaboration to help create successful programming that benefits Daytona State students.
Watch the video below to learn more about the Center for Women and Men’s services for homeless students
Listening to the Student Perspective
Aloszka, in his role as student body president at the University of North Florida, offered a look at what UNF is doing to combat food and housing insecurity on campus.
He highlighted the monthly campus climate surveys that the student body conducts in order to assess student need and get their opinions on programs and services that the school offers. By using constant student feedback, John has innovated the university’s Lend-a-Wing pantry by relocating it to the core of student services and providing a pop-up pantry that gives food to students without any stigma or screening process. He emphasized best practices that are often overlooked, such as the importance of collecting donations off-campus (and ideally not from students) as this subconsciously sends the message that they are the donors and not the recipients of the aid.
Another takeaway involved making the marketing of these resources highly visible by using creative methods like door hangers that contain information about all student services, including food and insecurity programs. This allows students to receive the information they need without stigmatizing them.
To learn more about food and housing insecurity on college campuses — or to view the webinar and download the presentation — take advantage of these resources.
Be sure to visit our Past Webinars page for access to recordings and downloadable material from FCAN’s previous presentations.