Food and Housing Insecurity Among Social Work Students

Consequences for Academic Achievement




food insecurity, housing insecurity, grade point average, social work students, social work education


We know little about social work students’ experience with financial hardship, especially food and housing insecurity, during their academic programs. This knowledge gap is problematic because food and housing insecurity negatively impact student success. In response, we surveyed 125 social work students of a public, Midwestern U.S. university in 2019 to investigate students’ experience with food and housing insecurity, as well as the factors associated with food and housing insecurity. We conducted descriptive and multivariate analyses, finding that 56% of students reported food or housing insecurity. Student financial characteristics, such as filing a FAFSA and taking out loans, were associated with food and housing insecurity. Students who identified as female and nonbinary were more likely to experience housing insecurity. Finally, we found that food and housing insecurity were each associated with lower reported grade point averages. Suggestions for intervention include schools of social work offering paid practica and emergency funds as well as advocating for improved student loan forgiveness programs at the national level.

Author Biography

Aislinn Conrad, University of Iowa

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Iowa


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