The Stony Brook University Food Pantry (SBU Food Pantry) opened yesterday, September 18, to help needy students, staff and faculty on its campus, Newsday reported. There are about 60 similar food aid programs at public colleges throughout the nation.
When it comes to food and college, most parents and students used to think about the Freshman 15, the extra pounds many kids are rumored to gain in college. For an increasing number of students, the worry is about being able to afford to eat.
Rising higher education costs, shrinking financial aid, and job loss or other family financial catastrophes are squeezing the budgets of college students.
Meal plans may be required for freshmen living on campus but meal plans are pricey. Many choose the least expensive one which may not cover three squares a day. In future years, students may not be able to pay for any meal plan.
For students attending college full-time, after allowing for studying, there is not much time left for paid employment to help defray costs. Additionally, the poor economy limits the availability and wages for local jobs.
SBU Food Pantry
Stony Brook University is the largest research university on Long Island. Although the New York area is thought to be an affluent part of the state, according to Newsday:
Nearly 40 percent of the university’s 14,500-plus undergraduates are eligible to receive Pell Grants, a federal program for low-income students. About 57 percent of full-time enrolled freshmen get need-based aid.
The mission of the SBU Food Pantry, as described on its webpage, is to “provide the most essential food items to assure that food insecure populations on campus are indeed benefitting from this resource.”
Anyone with a valid SBU ID card can utilize the pantry rather than skipping a meal or consuming cheap non-nutritious food stuffs. The pantry offers items such as canned beans, rice, oatmeal, nuts and pasta. College student staple snacks such as granola bars, peanut butter and crackers are also stocked, although all food items are subject to change. The SBU food pantry will operate Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Lesson for College-bound
Before accepting admission offered by a college, go over the financial aid offered, the family’s budget for higher education and projected costs. Include expenses for tuition, fees, transportation, personal expenses, books, supplies, room and board.
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