College can be tough. But making matters even more challenging, many students today struggle to pay for rent or even dinner, let alone tuition. In fact, according to one university in Kentucky, 7 out of 10 students worry about how to pay for college. Indeed, more than half of college students across the U.S. face the uncertainty of not knowing how to afford food, housing, and other basic needs. This insecurity directly affects their success in school. Let’s explore how to fit these student basic needs below.
For students of color, the problem is even worse, with those students at an increased risk of lacking access to transportation, technology, and healthcare. Studies further show that when basic needs are not met, 25% of all students will drop a class, and only 20% who do miss a class because of finances will ever graduate.
Assessing Student Basic Needs
The sad truth is 3 out of 5 students are not sure how their basic living needs will be met, which results in stress and distractions from focusing on the demands of school. For example, with basic needs insecurity, 25% of students will drop a class, and they are 15 times more likely to fail in class.
What is causing this serious problem? For starters, tuition costs across the nation have risen by 35%. At the same time, there has been a significant decrease in public funding. These difficulties often compel students to take out loans and work long hours in addition to maintaining their rigorous school schedule. Indeed, 43% of students work while attending college.
It is important to recognize that those who are underprivileged are 5 times more likely to rise out of poverty if they obtain a college degree. However, those same people struggling with low incomes frequently opt out of college. Furthermore, students pursuing a postsecondary education face similar struggles with housing and food insecurity as well.
Students Don’t Know Where to Get Support
Complicating matters, barriers prevent many students from accessing support. According to a national survey, only half of all students are even aware of available help for such needs as housing, health care, and emergency assistance. Of those who are aware, 3 out of 4 students don’t think they are eligible, and half don’t know how to apply for campus support. Students of all types often do not know where to begin to find help, especially in light of the academic and life burdens already weighing them down.
The hopeful news is that when students did receive some form of aid, 69% confirmed the funding immensely helped their chances of graduating. Clearly, to help students graduate and succeed in life, their basic needs must be met. To this end, there are advocates who are working for the benefit of college students, both young people and adult learners.
The goal of this startup organization is to find opportunities to aid students in their basic needs, with a focus on those of color, with low income, and in rural areas. With a collaborative effort, genuine acknowledgment of the issues students face, and practical solutions, students can succeed in school and life. Learn more about how student basic needs need to be fulfilled in the infographic below: