Colleges across Texas are offering a different type of meal plan - food pantries. Free food pantries are popping up across campuses in Texas to help keep students from having to skip meals in order to pay for classes.
According to the College and University Food Bank Alliance, 14 colleges in Texas including Brazosport College and Texas Tech have food pantries on campus filled with nonperishable grocery items available for any current student.
The food pantries were created after administrators or students realized that food insecurity was a growing problem at their schools.
However, some say having a food pantry is a great Band-Aid, but it's only a temporary solution for a very serious problem.
According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the average cost of tuition and fees has increased more than 95 percent statewide since 2004. Meanwhile, the number of college students from low-income families has grown. Many of those students get all or part of their tuition paid for, but with little or no financial support from their families, they struggle to keep up with other living expenses.
Many of the pantries are supplied by donations and staffed by volunteers. Maintaining them costs little, if anything. But their operations can provide a lifeline for students who may otherwise have to halt their education.