25% of KCTCS students report low food security, survey says

Published 11:02 am Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Not only during the holiday season but throughout the school year, the Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) and its 16 colleges are providing accessible and necessary food pantries to support students and combat food insecurity.

In their role as the largest postsecondary education provider in the state, with an annual enrollment of over 100,000 students, KCTCS is constantly assessing the needs of students to find solutions that can improve their quality of life and in turn, improve the state’s workforce.

A study performed by the system earlier this year found more than 25% of surveyed KCTCS students report low food security.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food security as access, by all people at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle.  Without proper access to nutritious food, students can become less likely to participate in their academic or technical courses.

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“Our system exists to improve the lives of Kentuckians through education,” said KCTCS Acting President Larry Ferguson.  “In meeting the basic food needs of our students, we’re improving attendance, retention and student success.  We’re showing up for our students, so that they can show up for Kentucky.”

KCTCS officials say their colleges are working year-round to eliminate food insecurity and other barriers to education.  Many colleges tailor their services to the needs of students on campus.

For example, Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College offers grab-and-go meals, grocery pickup services and connections to community resources through its Pathfinder Pantry.  In Louisville, The Hub @ Jefferson provides students at Jefferson Community & Technical College with assistance in meeting basic needs as well as accessing campus and community resources.