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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Undergraduate, Graduate, and Professional Students’ Food Insecurity During the COVID-19 Pandemic


One in five undergraduates (22%) and graduate and professional students (19%) enrolled at large public research universities experienced food insecurity, according to the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium survey of 31,687 undergraduate students at nine universities and 16,453 graduate and professional students from ten universities during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results from the survey suggest that undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds experienced significantly higher rates of food insecurity compared to their peers.

Specifically Black, Hispanic and Latinx, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and international students; low-income, poor, or working-class students; students who are caregivers to adults during the pandemic; first-generation students; and students who are transgender, nonbinary, bisexual, pansexual, or queer all experienced significantly higher rates of food insecurity during the pandemic compared to their peers.

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