The Financial Perils of College Students

From a young age, Americans are taught that college is an investment into a future of financial stability. However, during their academic career, over half of all college students struggle to meet their basic needs such as safe housing and reliable food sources. More than 40% of respondents reported showing signs of housing insecurity and even 10% of students had experienced homelessness during their time in college. Students of color are even more at risk of basic needs insecurity, with black and indigenous students experiencing the highest rates out (70% and 75% respectively). 

This is because many students are struggling to keep up with the rapidly rising cost of higher education. Even with the past decade (from 2009 to 2019), tuition costs have risen 35% on average. Pell Grants, a federal grant designed to help low-income students with their academic expenses, is only able to cover 29% of tuition costs today. 43% of full-time students have needed to work while also attending classes in order to support themselves. It still may not be enough; 70% of students at a public university in Kentucky said their financial situation could cause them to withdraw from college. Nationally, 25% of students at 4-year universities reported running out of money five or more times in a year.

Supporting Student Basic Needs
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative