For some young adults, college is a time to navigate various barriers and responsibilities. Higher education requires time, money and hard work, which is why stability in the lives of college students is crucial for educational success.
Due to the time commitment that college requires, most students are not able to work full time, if at all. This means that many students are living on limited incomes, making their college careers much more difficult. Tuition, books, food, clothes, supplies, rent, gas, insurance, child care, medical bills and phone payments are just some of the responsibilities that college students must deal with on that limited income.
The burdens associated with college life are even more compounded for students of color and those with lower incomes due to their limited access to resources. Many students are left juggling financial responsibilities with school responsibilities which negatively impacts their college careers.
A research report by Hunger on Campus showed that in 2016, 48 percent of students surveyed experienced food insecurity, meaning the experience of hunger and/or when a student does not know where their next meal will take place. This research also found 64 percent of students who reported food insecurity also reported housing insecurity, with 15 percent having been homeless in the last year.
These numbers reflect that numerous amounts of college students are facing these serious issues, making their path towards a degree that much more challenging. This is why it is imperative for colleges and universities to offer supportive services and resources for their students.
Some of the helpful resources that schools can provide include childcare, loans and food assistance. These are all services that UW Tacoma offers to students in some capacity. For example, the Pantry on campus is a free resource which allows UWT students to receive non-perishable food and other donated items. This resource is critical as it can alleviate some of the food insecurity that is common on college campuses. UWT also offers financial aid to eligible students for childcare needs, with the Office of Student Financial Aid offering funds available for smaller, short term loans in case of emergencies in students lives.
Successfully completing college is no easy task, and it becomes increasingly difficult considering the financial burdens that most college students face. If our nation wishes to watch all students succeed and get the most out of their college careers, we need to ensure that there is the proper support available to students.
UWT is on a great track in terms of offering resources, and this is due to its commitment to student well-being. This dedication to supporting students must be on the minds of educators and policy makers across America, for only then can we guarantee that all college students are able to succeed.