By Associated Press - Friday, December 25, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Public colleges in Massachusetts reported that they’re doing a better job helping needy students get food.

A statewide survey found that 25 of the 28 public universities now have their own food pantries or direct students to nearby pantries, up from 19 in 2014. More than a dozen of those campuses reported an increase in the number of homeless students this year. The survey results were released on Wednesday.

Massachusetts started the survey last year to help track youth homelessness and improve the academic outcomes of homeless students. State officials said it’s a growing problem, and that some students forgo meal plans to cut down on living expenses.

The state’s commissioner of higher education praised the work of colleges to help feed students, especially during the holiday season.

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