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Education News

UH Downtown Expands Food Scholarships So Students Don’t Go Hungry

Since 2018, the Houston Food Bank has expanded its food scholarships and serves at least six colleges in the region.

Since it opened in January 2018, the student market at Texas Woman's University provides about 80 students - mostly in graduate programs - with 60 pounds of food a month.
Laura Isensee/Houston Public Media
Other colleges in Greater Houston that have partnered with the Houston Food Bank to provide food scholarships include Houston Community College, Lee College, San Jacinto College and Texas Woman’s University.

Recent national surveys show that nearly half of college students who participated say they've gone hungry in the past month. In Greater Houston, one university is taking an aggressive approach to change that.

Known as food scholarships, students can shop at a campus marketplace for fresh produce and other groceries on credit, often depending on how many hours of classes they take.

At the University of Houston Downtown (UHD), interest in the program has skyrocketed so much this semester, that the university plans to expand it. In 2019, all students who apply will receive food scholarships.

“We have students coming in — everyone is sharing the information with their friends, so whether you're a freshman student or working on your MBA, you're able to come to the market and shop,” said Tremaine Kwasikpui, who directs student activities at UHD.

He added that the scholarships not only ease hunger, but also help students stay in school and do better in class.

“What's happening is that students are prepared for class,” Kwasikpui said. “They're not sitting in class with a growling stomach, they're not having headaches because they're not eating, so they're able to have to have food over the weekend and through the week.”

As more students at UHD use the scholarships — receiving about $60 dollars worth of food for every credit hour they take — researchers from the Houston Food Bank will track how it affects their overall success on campus.

Since 2018, the Houston Food Bank has expanded its food scholarships and serves at least six colleges in the region, including San Jacinto Community College and Lee College. Last year, there were about 1,000 students at Houston higher education institutions receiving food scholarships.

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