This story is over 5 years old.


Nearly Half of Canadian Students Can Barely Afford to Eat

The starving student narrative is not bullshit.
Get used to this kids. Photo via Flikr user Marc Tarlock

While jokes about students only eating ramen packs and KD seem to be as old as education itself, a new survey suggests it's not a laughing matter.

About 40 percent of Canadian students are considered "food insecure" meaning that they have "limited or inadequate access to food due to insufficient finances," according to the survey.

The survey, entitled Hungry for Knowledge, was conducted by Meal Exchange, a non-profit organization seeking to"eradicate hunger in Canada." The report was published last month and included data from five Canadian university campuses.


Over half of the students surveyed reported that they skip buying healthy food in order to cover essential expenses like rent and tuition.

The results found that "nearly two in five students surveyed experience some form of food insecurity." Of the 4,013 students that completed the survey, 31 percent were found to be "food insecure" while 8.3 percent were fell in the category of "severe food insecurity."

Only 31.5 percent of respondents cited employment as their primary source of income, while 58 percent said that they "regularly rely on a few low-cost foods in order to avoid running out of money to buy more food."

The Meal Exchange has identified 104 hunger relief programs on Canadian university campuses that aim to combat food insecurity faced by current undergrad students. The various programs consist of "physical food banks or pantries, anonymous food lockers, free grocery store gift cards, and hunger related financial aid," an increase from 51 in 2004

The decades-long shit spiral of rising tuition and increased costs of living have finally started resulting in some government action, although not the kind that puts food on your table. The Ontario government revised their student loan policy so that, as of November 1, recent graduates are not required to begin repaying their fees until they earn at least $25,000 a year. Provincial governments across the country have begun revising their student loan programs, with Newfoundland and Labrador switching its loan program entirely over to grants.

Despite such minor concessions, the survey concluded by saying that "as the cost of tuition and living continues to increase, along with the demand for highly educated and skilled workers, food insecurity among post-secondary students will continue to be an important health, social, and economic issue."

Until then, KD and no-name ketchup it is.

Follow Lisa Power on Twitter.