MIDDLETOWN — The state’s junior U.S. senator visited Middlesex Community College in Middletown May 6 to lead a forum with students and advocates to unveil his report, the “Hidden Cost of College: Addressing Food and Housing Insecurity Among College Students.”
Murphy, a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, visited the college at 100 Training Hill Road, to talk about his findings, based on discussions he had earlier this year with college students dealing with food and housing insecurity, according to a press release.
A recent study by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universitiessystem showed that 17.5 percent of CSCU students surveyed reported housing instability or homelessness, and a student survey from the University of Connecticut found that a quarter of students reported concerns of food insecurity, the release said.
Before the roundtable, Murphy visited the campus Magic Food Bus mobile food pantry, where students and staff can obtain nonperishable items at no cost.
“Food insecurity can mean that students have limited access to nutritious food, that they run out of food before their next paycheck arrives, that they reduce the size of their meals to make them last longer, or that they skip meals overall.
“Housing insecurity can mean that students do not have enough money to pay for dorms or off-campus student housing, that they sleep on a friend’s couch, or that they spend some nights in their car,” according to the release.
“Food and housing insecurity are major barriers to college completion,” Murphy said in a prepared statement.
“There are a number of steps we can take to put a little extra money in the pockets of these students so they have enough money to go to class and enough money to buy food. As a member of both the Appropriations and HELP Committees, I’m going to work hard to push for the proposals outlined in this report as we debate a new Higher Education Act,” he added.
Earlier this year, Murphy held a roundtable with students, faculty and advocates at UConn to inform his work on this report. In his report, Murphy outlined the proposals to address the problem:
Increase the maximum Pell Grant
Reform work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Require the U.S. Department of Education to college data about the basic needs insecurity
Expand the Federal Work-Study Program