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New Project: Food Security and College Completion

female college student gazes at bowls of side dishes while leaning on restaurant table

More than one-third of college students report food insecurity, and evidence increasingly suggests this may be a barrier to degree and certificate completion. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) offers a way to deliver nutritional assistance to students, yet fewer than half of eligible students participate.

The Colorado Lab and LINC are supporting a nearly $1 million study to inform Colorado state agencies and postsecondary institutions on ways to expand student participation in SNAP. The three-year study began July 1, 2023 and focuses on students enrolled in Colorado public postsecondary institutions between 2014-15 and 2022-23 who completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, an important indicator of SNAP eligibility. Institutions will be asked to participate in a survey on their SNAP/basic needs practices in the upcoming year.

Interim reporting shared with State agencies and postsecondary institutions throughout the intensive three-year study will provide evidence on:

  • the relationship between SNAP participation and academic outcomes;
  • current SNAP participation;
  • the implications of different approaches to expanding participation; and
  • the ways in which postsecondary institutions are working to increase SNAP participation, and which practices are associated with high rates of SNAP take-up among eligible students.

This study is being conducted in partnership with the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Colorado Department of Human Services, and RAND Corporation, with support from the Institute of Education Sciences. For more information, please contact Dr. Kristin Klopfenstein.