Addressing College Students’ Basic Needs

Addressing College Students’ Basic Needs

Food and Housing Insecurity on Campus

A cross-campus study found that 47% of students at four-year institutions experience food insecurity and enrollment projections indicate that this population will continue to grow.

Students cannot be expected to achieve academic success or personal wellness until they meet their basic needs. Supporting food and housing security on campus should be a crucial priority for chief student affairs officers and other senior leaders.

We identified three specific areas for campuses to address students’ basic needs security:

  1. Reduce barriers that prevent students from connecting to resources
  2. Cultivate a campus-wide referral network
  3. Explore sustainable funding and staffing models that can scale to meet students’ growing demand for basic needs support services

Section 1: Maximizing Connectedness to Existing Resources
Resources already exist on campus and in the community to help basic needs-insecure students without new investments or programs. Campuses can centralize information, provide guided application support, and create structured channels for surplus resources to support struggling students.

Recommendation 1: Centralize Information

Recommendation 2: Provide Guided Application Support

Recommendation 3: Create Structured Channels for Surplus Resources

Section 2: Cultivating a Campus-Wide Referral Network
Build a network of care on campus by educating staff and faculty who interact with students. Equip these campus partners with ready-to-use information about campus resources and a streamlined process for referring students to centralized supports.

Recommendation 4: Identify Key Frontline Partners

Recommendation 5: Provide Just-in-Time Information

Recommendation 6: Facilitate Easy Referrals

Section 3: Exploring Sustainable Funding and Staffing Models
Colleges and universities should be prepared to scale resources to address growing demand. Find a sustainable funding or staffing model that’s right for your campus.

Recommendation 7: Pursue Collaborative Partnerships with Development

Recommendation 8: Identify the Right Staffing Model

Implementation Toolkit

Tools to help the growing population of students struggling with food and housing insecurity.