Several students across the country struggle to get the basic necessities they need to live each day, resulting in them having to choose between getting education and paying their expenses. Recent data has shown that almost three in five college students experienced a lack of stable sources of food, shelter, and other living necessities with many of them being people of color. This has additionally caused serious mental and emotional harm that further impacts students’ ability to graduate and succeed at school.
A nationwide struggle to get sufficient funding for higher education as well as greater tuition rates versus fewer financial resources has significantly affected such students. Pell Grants are now only able to cover about 29% of tuition costs only and thus means students need to work while attending classes in order to cover educational costs. In fact, several students are worried about being able to pay for school and possibly dropping out due to lack of finances.
Helping students meet their basic needs has been shown to be an equity issue as an understanding of academic and nonacademic barriers is needed in order to create appropriate conditions for students to succeed. One way to meet students’ needs is to break down the barriers to support that is accessible to them. Those who are able to receive emergency financial assistance are usually able to pay for their food, transportation, and housing while increasing their chances of graduating.
Removing financial barriers, increasing access to basic needs support, and creating more opportunities for students to pursue postsecondary education are ways to help students achieve success and self-sufficiency even after graduation.
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative