Free College Tuition Is Nice, But How About Food?

By Sydney Worth ~ Yes!

Some schools are looking to helping students meet much more basic needs.

When Michelle Nielsen, 46, decided to return to school at Houston Community College to become a pastry chef, she quickly discovered that she had no room in her budget for food. Even with financial aid covering her tuition and a work-study program to help with rent, Nielsen knew she wouldn’t be able to get by without extra help.

Nielsen swallowed her pride and accepted help in the form of a food scholarship offered by her school that distributes food to students twice a month.

“It took me awhile to say, you know what, you need the help,” Nielsen said. Having to work on an empty stomach is a distraction, she said.

Her food scholarship has eliminated the stress of finding ways to pay for food each month. Now, Nielsen can focus on learning how to pay for food as a chef.

Many schools across the country are implementing free tuition programs to alleviate students’ financial burden, but researchers have realized that college affordability means much more than tuition costs. Living costs are needed, too.

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