Four Fast Facts About California’s New Basic Needs Program and How It Strengthens the Golden State’s HigherEd Safety Net

After nearly 3 years of pandemic fallout, the Golden State of California has created the Basic Needs program which has the potential to serve struggling students in the most relevant way possible.

First, the bad news. Not only are students struggling to navigate the challenges of higher education, but they’re also dealing with some of the most daunting Basic Needs crises not seen in decades:

  • 56% of students are struggling with food insecurity in California
  • Nearly 1 in 5 community college students have been homeless, and 20% of students are experiencing housing displacement in California which is an affordable housing crisis in many urban areas
  • In the US, 60% of college students work to succeed with their academics despite being faced with mental health disorders – including serious anxiety due to hardships suffered during the pandemic
  • Economic factors like the affordable housing crisis and Covid-related job loss hit  college students hard; theirs is one of the demographics currently having the most difficulty re-stabilizing to the new normal  

And now the good news:

  • California leaders of the largest higher education system in the nation are investing $130 million on ensuring their 1.8 million students get their Basic Needs covered
  • This summer, the state authorized $30 million of that investment toward opening a Basic Needs center AT EVERY COLLEGE in the 116-college system
  • To put action to decrees, the CCC partnered with the nonprofit Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC) to tap into its established infrastructure for outreach
  • To get more muscle on their reach to their far-flung students, officials brought in educational technology leaders ConexED to reach students, faculty, staff, administrators, and nonprofit programs to provide the digital glue to that safety net. Connect students to CalFresh and food banks. Efficiently get students through the hoops of financial aid and other programs they qualify for, such as aid for foster youths and mental health assistance. By reaching students where they really live – in the digital world

To learn more about supporting your students in covering their most Basic Needs, click here