Homeless College Students: Free Tuition? How About Free Housing?

The Presidential primary season has now ended. On the Democratic Party side, one of the paramount political issues was the cost of college tuition. Millions of young Americans flocked to one of the Democratic candidates because he sought to provide free college tuition for all Americans.

Such an enticing platform for young college students saddled with thousands of dollars of educational debt.

The cost of higher tuition in America's higher learning institutions is actually causing a more dramatic consequence on many of our country's college students... more and more university students are going to bed hungry or are actually homeless.

In California, a survey among University of California (UC) students revealed that one-fifth of its students do not have enough money for food. And, a survey among California State University (CSU) students revealed that 8% to 12% of its students are actually homeless, without permanent housing.

The cost of tuition and rent were the reasons for this staggering homelessness figure among our college students.

Such a disconnect. For those of us who operate homeless programs, we are used to having college student groups volunteer in our programs, not become participants of our program.

This ramen-noodle generation should not be worried about their next meal; they should be worried about their next test. Hunger and homelessness on our university campuses is becoming a low point in higher education.

During the recent primary campaign, it was refreshing to hear specific solutions, like how to reduce or eliminate the cost of tuition.

But what about our homeless college students? Shouldn't they have the right to housing and food? These students worked hard in high school to earn grades high enough to enter college. They stressed over college applications, and wrote that creative personal essay that convinced an admissions officer to let them in.

It does not make sense to force these students to struggle over housing and food.

The next political primary should not only include solutions to the struggle for students to pay for tuition, but also solutions to students' struggle for housing.

Why don't we guarantee a dorm room and a meal plan for every student who is smart enough to enter college? What an incentive for those young junior and senior high school students. If you work hard in school and gain good grades, then we will give you an affordable college tuition, a meal plan, and a dorm room.

Now that is what I call a good investment in America's future.