The Hardest College Test: Meeting Students’ Basic Needs

College students are struggling not just academically, but also to find ways to fulfill their basic needs. In 2020, 3 in 5 college students experienced basic needs insecurity, by lacking access to stable sources of food, shelter, and other living essentials. 10% of students are at risk of experiencing homelessness, which demonstrates just how dire some students’ living situations can be. 

Students of color are even more likely to be at risk of not having their basic needs met. The percentage of indigenous or black students that experience basic needs insecurity stands at 75% and 70%, respectively. 

Basic need insecurity can jeopardize students’ success in many ways. 25% of students in these situations drop a class. If they do decide to continue with the class, they are 15x more likely to fail it than students who do not have the same concerns. Less than 20% graduate in 5 years, as many students are forced to pause their educational journey for financial reasons. 

Many students are struggling due to the decrease in public funding for higher education, a massive increase in tuition rates, and more students entering college with fewer financial resources. College is extremely expensive, and many students are being left to fend for themselves.

Supporting Student Basic Needs
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative