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New Mexico Launches College Food Insecurity Study | Inside Higher Ed


The University of New Mexico and the New Mexico Higher Education Department are launching a statewide survey to evaluate the food and housing needs of students attending the state’s public and tribal colleges and universities. According to the Higher Education Department, it will be the first time a state has conducted such a study.

Researchers with the university’s Basic Needs Project, which aims to improve access to food and housing for New Mexico’s college students, are developing the survey, which will be administered to students throughout the state in early 2023. It will study how food insecurity impacts New Mexico’s college students, with the goal of helping leaders make decisions about how to distribute resources. The Basic Needs Project has previously studied food and housing insecurity at the University of New Mexico.

“No one has done a statewide study like we’re about to embark on,” said Sarita Cargas, associate professor of human rights at the University of New Mexico and director of the Basic Needs Project. “The body of research on the problem of college hunger and housing insecurity is young but growing. There is no national data for college students like there is for household hunger, and very little research has included college students in the Southwest. Together with the New Mexico Higher Education Department, we are forming these partnerships to fill those gaps that will make New Mexico a national leader in addressing college hunger.”

The state’s Higher Education Department also announced that it would distribute $900,000 to student food security initiatives, such as food pantries, on 15 campuses. The grants are part of New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Food Initiative, a new $24 million program, spanning eight government agencies, to address hunger in the state.



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