Online Program

College Student Food Insecurity Policy Analysis

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jennifer Bryant, MS, College of Public Health, Kent State University, Kent, OH

Recent literature has addressed the prevalence of food insecurity in the subpopulation of college students. Though not often considered to be at risk for food insecurity, increased susceptibility occurs due to students’ new emergence into adulthood and the lack of adequate skill to handle associated responsibilities, such as financial management, adoption of a busier schedule, varied living arrangements, as well as food procurement and preparation. This potentially jeopardizes academic performance due to weakened health status, and may reduce one’s mental and physical ability to focus on coursework.


A survey was administered to public and private university administrators in Ohio to analyze institution policies that address and eliminate food insecurity among students.

Lessons Learned

The access to nutritious food is a basic human right and a factor amongst many that ensures adequate physical and mental health; a right not to be forfeited when given the privilege to earn a postsecondary degree. Proposed solutions, such as student meal plan donations and campus food banks/pantries, have been implemented by universities taking the initiative to address food insecurity among students. Challenges to implementing interventions include general recognition of food insecurity among students and the ability to identify those in need of assistance.


Following risk assessment using the U.S. Adult Food Security Survey Module, next steps include developing eligibility guidelines similar to those used by federal benefits programs, engaging multiple stakeholder buy-in to successfully enforce and evaluate the proposed solution(s), as well as reporting annual findings to appropriate state and federal agencies.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the published literature on the prevalence of food insecurity among college students Analyze current university policies and/or programs that address student food insecurity

Keyword(s): College Students, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have earned both my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Nutrition. My previous research experience has included undergraduate- and graduate-level theses, as well as on-going work with the KSU College of Public Health Dean of Students, Dr. Sonia Alemagno. My research interests include nutrition education among children and young adults, built environment effects on health (i.e. food deserts), community interventions, and policy and evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.