Studying on Empty: A Qualitative Study of Low Food Security Among College Students

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



economic barriers, financial education, food insecurity


Recent research suggests that the combination of high and rising college prices, stagnant family incomes, and increased enrollment of lower-income students leaves many college students struggling to meet their basic needs, including adequate, regular nutrition. This report explores the lived experiences of students with low food security, how students cope with its challenges, and how these strategies influence academic performance. Students in our study demonstrated commitment to their education through pronounced levels of sacrifice. They were more likely to approach their education aspirations once their basic needs were met.