Understanding the Food Insecurity Experiences of College Students: A Qualitative Inquiry

The Review of Higher Education / January 2020

Food pantry

This qualitative study explored the experiences of 23 food insecure undergraduate students. We interviewed participants about their experiences with hunger and food access, including how food insecurity affected their daily lives. Using holistic student development as a theoretical framework, our thematic analysis of individual student interviews produced three findings: (a) learning to work around hunger, (b) managing anxieties around food and wellness, and (c) acknowledging that food insecurity is a shared and critical issue. Our findings expand the literature on college student food insecurity, which is largely based on quantitative studies. We discuss implications for
practice, policy, and future research.