Art by Vivian Hsia
Transparency Item: The Perspectives section of the Graphic is comprised of articles based on opinion. This is the opinion and perspective of the writer.
The classic stereotype of the broke college student has been a story told for generations, according to the National Education Association. Because of the images of lean meals, stretching money and getting all the free food you can get, this narrative has become romanticized in modern U.S. culture to the point where it’s a regular TV trope, according to TV Tropes.
People who’ve gone through this situation will often tell you it’s a normal part of life, depicting this tough struggle as a part of growing up, instead of treating it like the problem it is, according to United Way Greater Toronto. Rather than attempting to fix this issue, society labels it as a regular aspect of college life.
Food stamps give us a chance to break this cycle. Our college community tends to trend higher regarding familial income, but that doesn’t mean every student will be flush with cash. No matter their family’s financial background, students can find themselves in tricky food situations during college.
Let’s face it — regardless of someone’s income, college is expensive and it can be easy to stress out over finances. Most students said they worry about spending too much money and are still learning how and when to spend their hard-earned money.
It’s not uncommon for students to choose lower-quality groceries because it’ll save an extra 35 cents. It is a commonly excepted aspect of college, regardless of income.
We, as a society, have accepted these financial worries as just a part of college, according to the National Education Association. While we’ve accepted this trope, it doesn’t have to be this way, thanks to Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT).
EBT gives people in those situations the ability to eat well if they are put through tough times. It allows students to use the money they may have otherwise spent on groceries to pay off bills, add to their savings or just give them more spending money.
While students should stay within the guidelines and qualification requirements of the state, it seems wrong to gatekeep an abundant resource when it could benefit all. The U.S. spent $90 billion on aid in 2020, according to Politico, and it is ridiculous to assume that governmental aid is scarce.
So, if you qualify, take full advantage of the security nets and aid the government gives out. Just because your situation is unique doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to utilize the benefits our government gives us.
Encouraging students to take advantage of available public aid allows them to eat healthy and consistent meals and use their money for other purposes. With more money available to those students, they can use it for educational purposes — like paying off loans and buying books and supplies or simply enjoying the college experience by going out to eat, purchasing movie tickets and attending sports events and concerts.
While on-campus resources like RISE, the Office of Community Belonging, ICA and others offer help through lessons on resilience and fighting for inclusion, sometimes students need financial help. With a combination of all of these resources, students have the best chance to not only succeed at Pepperdine but enjoy their experience here as well.
All these benefits will raise the physical health of the Pepperdine community and students’ mental health, leading to a more productive and happy future.
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