Food Policy: Understanding Food Insecurity Risk Factors And The Food Environment On An HBCU Campus

No Thumbnail Available

Links to Files


Author/Creator ORCID




Public Health and Policy


Doctor of Public Health

Citation of Original Publication


This item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.


Food is a basic need for human survival. Food insecurity occurs when individuals in households consistently have inadequate access to nutritious food that may result in hunger, starvation, serious health problems, and even death. In 2015, approximately 12.7% of American households were food insecure. However, the incidence of food insecurity among college students is 2 to 5 times higher. To address this gap in research, the study examines college students’ food insecurity risk factors and the proportion of those with inadequate access to food. A mix method design of focus group and survey data were conducted in spring 2016. Study participants were active Morgan State University (MSU) students, age 18 and older who were enrolled before 2016. Data were collected from focus group participants (n=20) and surveyed subjects (n=285). Study results showed that most students were dissatisfied with MSU’s meal plan, the available food choices, and food service locations. Nearly half (55%) of students surveyed were food insecure. The study also found that 38.9% of food insecure students had failed a least one course during the semester, 9.8% had a grade point average below 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), and 25.7% would not graduate on time as planned. The findings from this research indicate that food insecurity is prevalent among college students and is closely related to their well-being and educational experience. To minimize food insecurity impacts, higher academic institutions should monitor their campus foodservice system and meal plan services as well as students’ financial needs more closely each semester.