College Is Supposed To Help You Get A Leg Up In Life. So Why Do These Students Have To Go On Food Stamps?

The new face of food insecurity might be a college freshman.

Amid rising tuition and living costs, more students than ever at one prestigious university are turning to government assistance to find their next meal.

Since the beginning of this year, more than 500 University of California, Berkeley students have applied for food stamps. In the previous year, only 111 students had applied. In 2015, that number was just 41, according to a SFGate report. Thousands more students visit a campus-based food pantry each month to grab free basics like milk, cereal, and canned vegitables to tide them over when their money is low.

California’s food stamp program, known as CalFresh, can provide up to $192 per month to approved applicants, which helps many avoid having to go hungry. In order to qualify for the program, students must be U.S. citizens, maintain a monthly income below the program’s threshold (often $1,980), attend school at least half-time, and work at least 80 hours per month.

The need for assistance in procuring food is just another example of the crippling financial burden many students encounter before they even enter the workforce, where they’re often saddled with loan debt. Currently, the average loan balance for Americans in their 20s is $22,135.

A recent survey of students in the University of California system found that 19% claim to eat too little due to “limited resources,” while an additional 23% admitted to regularly eating substandard food for sustenance. In 2014, state legislators passed AB1930, which made food stamps more accessible to students through reduced documentation requirements.

While the increase in food stamp applications is indicative of the rising costs facing students at state-funded universities, California has taken steps to ensure that those in need will have access to the assistance programs available. In response to the problem, the California State University system is outfitting all 23 of its campuses with the infrastructure to accept food stamps from students and help them apply for benefits.

Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less