Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Catherine DiMartino

Second Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther

Third Advisor

Stephen Kotok


Food insecurity has been a prevailing issue among college students for a number of years. Over the past decade, studies have been conducted to determine the prevalence rate of food insecurity on college campuses ((El Zein et al., 2019; Gaines et al., 2014; Goldrick-Rab et al., 2018; Patton-Lopez et al., 2014; Payne-Sturges et al., 2018; Riddle et al., 2020), and the impact of food insecurity on academic achievement (Gaines et al., 2014; Gundersen & Ziliak, 2015; Stack & Meredith, 2017; Philips et al., 2018). Although these studies have involved college students, gaps in the research have led to an incomplete profile of students who are parents that experience food insecurity. These students, not only have the responsibility of caring for themselves but they must be concerned with the well-being of their children. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore college students who are parents’ experiences with food insecurity while attending a community college. The study was conducted in an urban New York City public college and utilized data from individual interviews of student-participants and administrator-participants, content analysis of outreach and marketing materials, and observation of the on-campus pantry use by students. Analysis of the collected data revealed three major findings. First, a lack of financial resources contributed to student parents’ inability to provide for their families, and the stress of not being able to provide affected their ability to focus in school. Second, these parents experienced parental trauma, which was couched in their inability to parent their children effectively at times and created feelings of guilt. Third, in spite of the challenges that food insecurity presented, many of these students used the resources that the college offered as motivation to persevere. The implications of these findings revealed food insecurity affected the student-participants who are parents in ways that, without resources and support it would be very difficult for them to progress and complete school.