Giving Compass' Take:

A significant portion of college students struggle with food security, a new report shows. Although the exact findings should be taken with a grain of salt, the issue is certainly worth pursuing.

• How does food insecurity impact outcomes for students? How can philanthropists help college students access reliable food supply?

• One solution: New York has food banks on college campuses to fight student hunger.

Students continue to go hungry on college campuses. While experts differ on the scope of the problem, the issue of students lacking basic needs, both food and shelter, has gained significant traction, both politically and among university administrators.

The new study, the first to include four-year colleges and universities, comes from one of the most prominent researchers on this front, Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University and founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab.

Previous work from the HOPE Lab has focused solely on community colleges, where issues will be more evident and widespread among a traditionally lower-income population.

About 36 percent of students attending four-year colleges and universities said they had “low” or “very low” food security in the period surveyed, meaning they aren’t skipping meals for frivolous reasons, but that they can’t always afford them -- that percentage rose to about 42 percent among two-year students. About 46 percent of community college students indicated they experienced some form of homelessness in the last year, as did 36 percent of four-year-college students.

The report openly acknowledges a number of limitations of the HOPE Lab’s methodology. The HOPE Lab worked with 66 institutions - 31 community colleges and 35 four-year universities. But only about 7 percent of the 600,000 students at the institutions - amounting to 43,000 students - were included in the study. Such a low sample can lead to biased responses, as students with hunger issues may be more likely to care enough to fill out the survey.

Read the full article on college students going hungry by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf at Inside Higher Ed