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Even at elite colleges, students go hungry

MastadonMastadon 1768 replies50 threads Senior Member

What happens when even ramen noodles are out of reach?

It’s a problem that elite colleges across the country are now confronting, as a significant share of students are unable to afford even basic staples and find themselves skipping meals.

As an example, last year, an MIT student survey revealed that about 10% of the undergraduates reported going to bed hungry at least once in the previous week because they lacked money for food....

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Replies to: Even at elite colleges, students go hungry

  • AroundHereAroundHere 3604 replies22 threads Senior Member
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 34150 replies4935 threads Super Moderator
    Interesting set of one-off examples quoted in the MIT info. I have trouble understanding some of the self inflicted problems there - parents not paying the EFC, students not talking to parents about needed care after a sexual assault, needing to pay for classes to get back into MIT. Since MIT meets full need food really shouldn't be a problem there.
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 34150 replies4935 threads Super Moderator
    I believe all the schools that meet need also include Board with their offers. Perhaps I'm wrong.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 15906 replies1063 threads Senior Member
    How many of these students have a part time job, 10-15 hours a week?
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  • AroundHereAroundHere 3604 replies22 threads Senior Member
    @TomSrOfBoston the data compares motivation for working but not raw numbers

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  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad 6202 replies163 threads Senior Member
    I've met many very strapped MIT students. These students do what they need to do.

    I had to quit my job while at MIT. I had to basically work on school every waking hour. My frat had 17 meals per week. I ate leftovers for the others.

    I have had MIT interns turn down our summer offers even though they were the best opportunities work wise because every dollar lower than the maximum offer they had was money they would otherwise have to borrow.
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  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal 3487 replies34 threads Senior Member
    I was on financial aid at a private college and I skipped some meals due ot money being short.. Honestly, it wasn't the worst thing I ever went through.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13237 replies247 threads Senior Member
    ^ D's school finds that an issue too @Massmomm , though the dorms do not close on breaks (which is already unusual and very helpful to those students who cannot go home or do not have one), the dining hall does, or goes to just a meal a day (with stuff that can be taken with the student for the next meal). .

    Some schools give dining vouchers that can be used in the town, make sure a kitchen stays open and stocked with pans and such.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2468 replies37 threads Senior Member
    Just did a quick check on the cost of meal plans at MIT and some of its competitors. MIT's cost is by far the lowest , between $3.5k to $5k (vs $6-7k at the other schools). So, MIT's meal plan may offer a bit less. Even if MIT's FA covers the full cost of the meal plan, it may still fall short of total food cost.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6928 replies121 threads Super Moderator
    This one of the reasons I like it when schools charge a comprehensive fee (one charge for tuition, room and board). No one, the school included, can pretend the student can cover costs by saving on their food budget. With a comprehensive fee a student might run short on money to send home, cover toiletries, or to get home on vacations but at least they're going to be eating 3 squares a day. When I hear students on CC say they can cover the cost of a school if they just choose a cheaper meal plan red flags go up for me. Better to make the decision up front that a school is too expensive than to spend the entire semester living off ramen and food pantry peanut butter.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 25007 replies20 threads Senior Member
    If everyone has to pay for the full meal plan, some kids might not be able attend to the school at all. My kid's freshman meal plan was almost $3000 per semester. The next year (still living in the dorm) the sophomore meal plan was $1700. Do sophomores eat less than freshmen? (No, it's just that students would start living off campus if they had to pay that much for food) Now she lives off campus but has the $1700 meal plan provided to her through her scholarship. She doesn't come close to using it all even with treating her friends to lunches and dinners almost every day (every entry into the dining hall takes $$ off her card). The meal plans are too expensive. If she could save $1000 or more per semester and afford to go to the school, shouldn't she be able to do that?

    Other daughter chose a 12 meal/wk plan and wasn't even using all those her first few weeks of school (she then switched to a sorority meal plan). I'd be surprised to learn she's eating 12 meals a week at the sorority. She doesn't eat 12 meals a week when she's at home. Not every kid eats breakfast, not all schedules allow the student to eat in the cafeteria every meal.

    There was an article about a year or so ago about how students on 100% financial aid at the Ivies still struggle because they are away from home, need bus fare, need incidentals, and it's often caused because they are sending what little extra they have home for other family members.
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