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College Grads on Food Stamps on the Rise


Great Texas Observer article by Sarah Angle, "SNAP Judgments: College Graduates Dependent On Food Stamps Are On the Rise." She shares her personal story, and along the way gives a great background on the nightmarish economic prospects for people coming out of college with BAs AND graduate degrees. Yikes.

Since 2007, Texas has added more than 1.4 million new food stamp recipients to its ranks. During the month of April—my first in the program—Tarrant County provided food stamp assistance to almost 220,000 residents at a cost of more than $27 million, according to Texas Health and Human Services. That means 12 percent of folks living in Tarrant County are carrying little white plastic cards like mine.

I never thought I’d need the help. I once bought two bicycles for $800 from a fancy bike shop. I got the helmets too, at $30 each. That’s nearly $1,000 of sports gear collecting dust in the garage of our three-bedroom ranch-style house near Fort Worth. I have a master’s degree in journalism. My husband was working on his MBA at the University of Texas at Arlington before he lost his job and before we ran out of money. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the number of graduate students clinging to white plastic lifelines is growing. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of students receiving food stamps doubled. Some 360,000 highly educated Americans now eat breakfast, lunch and dinner courtesy of Uncle Sam.

If you're curious about larger economic backdrop facing college grads, there's a great report from the Economic Policy Institute by Heidi Shierholz, Natalie Sabadish, and Hilary Wethin: "The Class of 2012: Labor market for young graduates remains grim"

The long-run wage trends for young graduates are bleak, with wages substantially lower today than they were in 2000. Between 2000 and 2011, the real (inflation-adjusted) wages of young high school graduates declined by 11.1 percent, and the real wages of young college graduates declined by 5.4 percent.

Young graduates lack opportunities for advancement, a trend underscored by the fact that there are now nearly 30 percent fewer voluntary quits each month than there were each month in 2007.

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