According to Feeding America, food insecurity is “a federal measure of a household’s ability to provide enough food for every person in the household to have an active, healthy life.” Food insecurity is such a big issue for students because it can affect your test scores, concentration, energy, academic standing, and lowers your chances of graduating. In addition, food insecurity affects the most vulnerable students ex. students who receive financial aid, students who are parents/ caretakers, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students, first-generation students, BIPOC, and more.
Unfortunately, students who are facing food insecurity are not accessing all the public benefits they could. The food insecurity among college students can get worse because families are losing income, medical bills are piling up, and folks are being forced to tap-in to their savings. However there are college, local, state and federal resources for you as a student.
Below is a list of food banks/ pantries that are accessible to you and your family at no cost, because no student should go upon not knowing when their next meal will be.
Free or reduced-cost services like medical care, food, job training and more can be found around your area! Food or reduced-cost services are services that are free or are at a reduced cost for people with low-income. These services are also available for people with undocumented status.
- Aunt Bertha is one of the largest and most used online social care networks for individuals looking to connect to Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) in the United States. To get started, input your zip code and Aunt Bertha will connect you with CBO’s near you. Financial assistance, food pantries, medical care, and other free or reduced-cost help starts here!
- The Employment Development Department (EDD) of the State of California provides to keep employers, employees, and job seekers competitive. This website provides additional resources that may help you.
- In many parts of California, you can call 2-1-1 to learn about resources in your community or contact these agencies and organizations directly to ask about their programs. Some programs may have eligibility requirements.
Reduced cost or free internet access:
- The Affordable Connectivity Program is administered by USAC with oversight from the Federal Communications Commission. With the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, you can save on your bill and may be able to get high-speed internet for free.
- Spectrum Student Internet Packages offers high-speed internet for students and enough bandwidth to support multiple devices.
Information on low-cost computers:
Northern California: in English and Spanish
Southern California: in English and Spanish
Databases that include services for undocumented communities:
Luckily, financial aid covers most tuition and fees. Other expenses that arise from our college education are our personal expenses. Financial aid does not cover these, even though some of these expenses are related to college. Personal expenses include personal items such as laundry, going out to a movie, or eating out. Expenses vary from one student to the next based on their particular needs and lifestyle.
To learn more about personal expenses, download this guide Personal Expenses Explained. Guide provided by DecidED
We’ve all heard the term thrown around, but what exactly is a credit score? It seems like a random number assigned to you by the universe. Some adults have a “good” score while others have a “bad” score. Regardless of its ambiguity now, however, it is a significant number that can affect your finances as you begin your journey into adulthood. Read more on credit scores below!
Q: What is a credit score?
A credit score is a number that represents your “creditworthiness”. The number signals to lenders whether they should let you borrow money or not. It can also determine what interest rate lenders choose to charge you. The higher your credit score, the more lending opportunities you’ll have.
A credit score ranges from 300 to 850. Typically, a “very poor,” score is one between 300 and 579, a “fair,” score is one between 580 and 669, a “good,” score is between 670 and 739, a “very good,” score is between 740 and 799, and an “exceptional,” score is between 800 and 850.
Q: How do I get a credit score?
Your credit score is determined by a mixture of factors, each with varying significance. There are 5 main factors that determine your score:
- Payment History – Payment history refers to the record you have of paying other debts on time or not. The more you pay your bills when they’re due, the better this portion of your score will be.
- Amounts Owed – This doesn’t necessarily regard your overall debt, but the rate at which you use your credit. Lenders want to see that you don’t use large portions of their loan all at the same time. For example, if a credit card gives you $1000, they don’t want to see you using $800 of it.
- Length of Credit History – Length of credit history refers to how long you have been borrowing money from lenders. Typically, the longer you’ve been borrowing money, the better your score will get. This portion of your score will get better as you grow older!
- Credit Mix – This refers to the type of debts you have. There are different kinds of loans such as student loans, car loans, home loans, credit cards and retail accounts. Your credit score typically increases when there is variety in your loans. This does not mean that you must have all kinds of loans for a good score, but it signals how you’re choosing to spend your money.
- New Credit – This refers to how often you’re asking lenders to borrow money. Lenders do not want to see that you are constantly asking for loans. Usually, you should wait at least six months between opening loans. For example, if you took out a credit card with your bank in January, it is best to wait until June until you go to an Electronics store for a card.
For some people, some factors weigh more than others. For example, the first time you take out a loan, your credit score might be more dependent on the amount you owe rather than your payment history since you don’t have a “history,” just yet.
Q: Why is a credit score important?
A credit score can determine whether you get a loan or not, and what interest rate you have to pay your loans back at. Say that you want to get a car in the near future but don’t have all the money to buy it from a car dealership. You decide to buy the car with credit but the car dealership rejects you the loan because of your “bad” credit score. It may work the same for when you want to buy a home, or even finance an expensive cell phone.
Additionally, a credit score can be viewed by certain actors who you give permission to. For example, when you are applying for an apartment, the landlord may want to know your credit score. For the landlord, this might determine whether you’ll pay your rent on time or not. If your credit score is “bad,” they can reject you.
Overall, the score has a significant impact in the world of finance.
Q: Who gets a credit score?
Anyone in the United States is given a credit score determined by a set of identifying factors. Although social security number is a common identifier for lenders, they can also use your address, birth date, phone number, and more to determine who you are. In other words, you do not have to be documented to receive a credit score.
Q: When do I get a credit score?
Your credit score starts when you open your first lending account. If you have any student loans, you already have a credit score, even if you’ve been unaware of it.
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College students experience many challenges throughout their higher education journey. Students face many challenges which can include family expectations, financial debt and dealing with mental health problems. One of these challenges include being food insecure. The Health Affairs calls it the “Invisible Epidemic” as 30% of all college students experience food insecurity at some point in their college career. Breaking this down further, 38% are from two year colleges and 20% are students at a four-year institution.
Recently a former Let’s Go intern, Nathen Ortiz, conducted a survey and asked the Let’s Go community if they experience food insecurity. 31.8% of respondents were community college students, 31.8% were CSU students, 9.1% were from a private institution, 27.3% were students at a UC institution. These students were asked a variety of questions related to food insecurity, such as if they also experienced housing insecurity, if their institution offered a food pantry and how accessible said food pantry was. About 45.5% of the respondents consider themselves food insecure, 31.8% do not consider themselves food insecure and 22.7% said they were not sure. From this data, it is gathered that almost 50% of the respondents were food insecure and from these correspondents, 60% also struggled with housing insecurity. Challenges that contribute to students struggling with food insecurity have to do with not receiving enough financial aid, having to pay for other expenses and bills, losing jobs, and having financial emergencies.
Suggestions students presented to address food insecurity among college students and improve food services in their institutions were:
- Institutions being more vocal of resources outside school like food banks and other food-related programs
- Giving leftover food to students
- Outreach programs and outside resources
- Grocery store gift cards
- Providing stipends or emergency funds for students in need
- Giving free meal swipes for students
- Providing free grocery food stamps and other forms of food insecurity support for eligible students