Opinion: The burdens of college life can impact student success

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.

Alyssa Tatro

Alyssa majors in urban studies and community development. She is interested in and concerned about issues in Tacoma that impact the community. She is obsessed with all things chocolate and piggies.