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The Cost of A College Education? Homelessness

Courtesy of Mary Haskett

Homelessness on campus does not always look the same as homelessness on the streets. It often means students without a place to stay end up couch surfing until they find a more permanent solution.

But while it may be less visible, it is a problem that is gaining more attention. A new study sheds light on the problem of housing and food insecurity among college students at North Carolina State University and has broader implications for large public universities trying to better understand how to meet the basic needs of their students. Researchers found that almost 10% of a representative sample of the student body at NC State had experienced homelessness at least once in the previous year and nearly 15% reported being food insecure in the previous 30 days.

The results have already prompted changes at the university, including grassroots efforts to provide emergency funds and meal plan scholarships to at-risk students. Host Frank Stasio speaks with NC State researcher and Psychology Professor Mary Haskett about the study and its impact on campus; plus, NC State student Miguel Ortiz-Cruz shares what it is like to pursue a degree while living on the edge of financial jeopardy.

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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