Monday, October 31, 2016

COLLEGE STUDENTS 2016 - Basic Survival

"For these college students, the most difficult test may be basic survival" PBS NewsHour 10/25/2016


SUMMARY:  The biggest challenge for these college students may not be exams or papers, but finding the means to survive.  While the University of California system has worked to bring in more first-generation and “non-traditional” students, helping them stay, succeed and meet basic needs like getting enough food requires greater investment.  Jeffrey Brown reports from Berkeley, California.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  You will probably be surprised to hear that hunger and homelessness is a growing problem for thousands of college students across the country, particularly among those who are the first in their families to pursue a degree.

This is forcing some universities to figure out new ways of keeping low-income students in school.

Jeffrey Brown has the story from the University of California, Berkeley, as part of our weekly education series 'Making the Grade.'

ANTHONY CARRASCO, Student, University of California, Berkeley:  Oh, darn.  These tortillas are not very good.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  Every Sunday night, Anthony Carrasco prepares the food he will eat for the week ahead, setting himself a quota of one meal a day.

ANTHONY CARRASCO:  I can skip breakfast, skip lunch, and even skip dinner.  And I have just saved myself close to $30 or $40.  I, like many folks, come to college to get out of poverty.  I really thought that was the end of the line when we got the admission letter.  Unfortunately, it wasn't.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Anthony is a junior at the University of California, Berkeley, one of the nation's leading public universities.  And he's the first in his family to attend college.  It was hard to get in, and now hard to stay in, but maybe not for a reason many people have considered.

ANTHONY CARRASCO:  We were expecting long nights in the libraries and tough exams; but what we're really facing is, you know, just, you know, sleepless nights worried about rent, and really distracting lecture halls when you just cannot stop thinking about food.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Today, almost a third of all students entering two- and four-year colleges are first-generation.  They're more likely to be minorities and come from low-income families.  And by the estimate of one advocacy group, more than half of them lack reliable access to food.  And that contributes to their lower graduation rates.

Many years ago, I myself was a student here at Berkeley.  I was fortunate enough to have the means so I could concentrate on my studies, my grades, and, yes, the fun side of college life.  But more and more these days, many students find they have to worry about more basic needs, including food and shelter.

A beautiful campus, world-class academics and now a new reality.

WOMAN:  Is there any stock on Friday?

MAN:  We're going to restock on Friday, so everything is going to be here on Friday.

JEFFREY BROWN:  A campus food pantry, where twice a month students can stock up on staples.  The University of California system has worked hard to bring in first-generation, low-income and what are called nontraditional students, such as veterans and those with families.  But more work is required to help these students survive and graduate.

RUBEN CANEDO, University of California Global Food Initiative:  Twenty-five bags today.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Ruben Canedo is a first-generation graduate from Berkeley.  He's now a leading advocate for student food security, and oversees the campus food pantry.

RUBEN CANEDO:  What we're doing on our campus is making sure that campus becomes basic need secure.  You have the recession, you have the increasing cost of living, and students are caught in the middle of that.

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