Helping Students Meet Their Basic Needs

Nowadays more than 50% of college students struggle with basic needs insecurity that involves food insecurity, housing insecurity, homelessness, and more. This further causes mental distress that impacts students’ ability to graduate. In fact, only 20% of students who take a break from their education due to financial reasons end up graduating. 

A significant increase in tuition costs, a decrease in higher education funding, and less financial support are causing many students to struggle. Pell Grants do not offer much support these days as they only cover about 30% of the average cost of tuition with students typically receiving less than the maximum amount. As such, almost half of full-time students get jobs while attending college with many of them worried about paying for school or dropping out due to financial reasons. 

Helping students meet their basic needs and succeed has been shown to be an equity issue, and creating equitable conditions for students to succeed involves understanding different barriers they face. For example, barriers to accessing support is something several students face. Some might be aware of campus support but do not fully utilize them or know how to. Others are fully unaware of the support available to them. 

However, those who do get emergency financial assistance are able to pay for their continued education as well as class and living necessities, increasing the possibilities of graduating. As such, removing financial barriers, improving basic needs support, and providing more access to postsecondary education degrees are ways we can help students achieve success for a better life. 

Supporting Student Basic Needs
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative