Being in school is hard. For those who have access to life’s necessities, even for those who can include some of its pleasures, it can nevertheless be the best time of their lives, but for the rest for whatever reason, it is challenge upon challenge. According to a new survey 36% of students on college campuses do not have enough to eat. The survey finds that one of the reasons for food insecurity is that jobs are not as easy to find. There is much competition for the low paying jobs students typically get. Other reasons are “ballooning college costs”, inadequate aid packages, growing enrollment among low income students and too the reluctance of colleges to admit the problem. According to the same survey a similar percentage of students have no secure place to live or can be homeless. I worked my way through school albeit at a time when tuitions were much cheaper. My education means more to me than whatever difficulties I encountered while a student. I am sure the same holds for many of these young people. But the result of this survey shows us this is not how we ought to build a future for young lives as well as for society. Many of these same students who experience food and shelter insecurities may well be those who will end up with the greatest student debt. Student debt the way it is unfolding in the US (as opposed to the US, Australia or Sweden for example) saddles young people with life -long consequences.
When seen as a total picture, the results of this survey are not only distressing, they also lead to asking whether a remedy for economic inequality is being harmed?