Phi Beta Cons

Free Lunch for College Students!

Well, the lunches wouldn’t exactly be “free.” They would cost taxpayers billions. And there’s no hard evidence that large swaths of college students are actually going hungry. But it’s still a good idea, right? 

According to a new paper from the Wisconsin HOPE Lab (a policy group “aimed at improving equitable outcomes in postsecondary education”), some cash-strapped college students are “food insecure” and don’t receive proper nutrition. The HOPE Lab calls for expanding the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to all public and private non-profit colleges. 

George Leef critiques that proposal (and the questionable student surveys it’s based on) in this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call. He argues that if there is a food insecurity problem, private charities, such as the College and University Food Bank Alliance, should work to combat it, not the federal government.

Besides, says Leef, expanding the NSLP to higher education “will only give further momentum to the harmful idea that college degrees are an entitlement. Taxpayers must already cover the prodigious tuition expense for many students who are not serious about learning; this idea increases that cost to cover food.”

Jesse SaffronJesse Saffron is a writer and editor for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a North Carolina-based think tank dedicated to improving higher education in the Tar ...


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