Free Period Products on College Campuses

Should Colleges Make Tampons and Pads Free on Campus?

August 15, 2023

At first glance, providing period product access on campus may be costly compared to other student services. 

However, it comes at a greater cost for students who don’t have this access as they may be subject to missing class while on their periods and experience poor health outcomes

Menstrual Hygiene

Insufficient access to period products clearly poses a public health threat. 

FACT: 1 in 10 college students experience period poverty or lack access to menstrual products when needed. 

Menstruating students who don’t have access to free period products may resort to a makeshift pad or other improvised methods. Some may use period products longer than is recommended for safety reasons, may replace period products with unsanitary alternatives or choose to “free bleed.” 

Student Period Poverty Statistics

The Cost

Cost is oftentimes one of the major factors holding colleges back from providing free period products on campus

Our research shows that universities should budget $10-$20 per menstruating student per year for period products.

While it may be an added cost to do so, both schools and students benefit in the long term by making products like tampons free and accessible. 


Universities can choose to work together with students to improve period product access on campus and reduce stigmas associated with menstruation. 

Luckily, we have quite a few resources for student advocates:

Get the conversation flowing on YOUR campus and advocate with Aunt Flow!

Stay in the flow — we’ll send you period positivity + timely updates on the menstrual movement.

claire coder,founder + ceo

claire coder,
founder + ceo

Hi! I’m Claire. I founded Aunt Flow after getting my period in public without the supplies needed.

Founded in 2016, Aunt Flow is a certified WBENC women-owned company based in Columbus, Ohio. At 18 years old, I dedicated my life to developing a solution to ensure businesses and schools could sustainably provide quality period products, for free, in bathrooms. Our products are made with organic cotton (no weird stuff) and we are constantly working to reduce our environmental impact! For every 10 tampons and pads we sell, we donate 1 to a menstruator in need. I call this people helping people. PERIOD.®