One-third U of S students face food insecurity, two-thirds are Indigenous: study
- EFN Staff | December 15, 2017
Students at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) responded to a survey which discovered food insecurity due to rising tuition rates and post-secondary costs.
The Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition released a new published study where they found 30% of students (1,359) reported some degree of food insecurity, from marginal (11%), to moderate (21%), to severe (7.5%).
The data obtained showed 53% of students who are parents, 55% of students who are on student loans, and 64% Indigenous students experience food insecurity at the U of S.
“A food drive isn’t the solution to help end food insecurity for students pursuing post-secondary education,” said Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer, researcher with the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit, in a media release. “We must take a look at the largest expenses for students, such as housing and tuition. It’s time for universities, and governments, to address issues that are causing food insecurity.”
Dr. Engler-Stringer, along with Caitlin Olauson, Community Health and Epidemiology Master’s program graduate, Dr. Hassan Vatanparast – Nutrition and School of Public Health, and Rita Hanoski from the U of S Student Health Services, all conducted the study, ‘Student Food Insecurity: Examining Barriers to Higher Education at the University of Saskatchewan.’
Dr. Engler-Stringer said food insecurity is indicative of a larger problem students face: poverty, noting that students who experienced food insecurity said different aspects of their lives were affected, including their mental and physical health, academic standing, and social lives. About 30 per cent of food insecure students dropped a course within the last year. In order to cope students were working more, borrowing more money, and delaying or not buying textbooks.
The international students rate is reported at 58% and are twice as likely to experience food insecurity with when compared to non-international students. Students who are parents are also 1.73 times more likely to be food insecure than students who are not parents.
The random sample study was the first of its kind, and most rigorous to date in Canada on student food insecurity.