In 2020 nationally, nearly 60% of college students lacked access to stable sources of food, shelter, and other basic living essentials. A financial wellness survey of students across the country found that more than half of respondents showed signs of food insecurity, more than 40% showed signs of housing insecurity, and more than 10% experienced homelessness. Students of color are more likely to face basic needs challenges, with indigenous, African American, and Hispanic students being 10-20% more likely to face these challenges. 

Basic needs insecurity jeopardizes a student’s success, making a student 15 times more likely to fail a class and less than 20% that come up against these challenges graduate in 5 years. Just 20% of students who pause their education for financial reasons will eventually graduate.

Students are struggling because of less public funding and more expensive tuition rates. Nationwide from 2008 to 2019, tuition costs have grown by 35% on average. In 1975, Pell Grants were developed to help cover tuition costs for low-income students and at that time covered 79% of average tuition costs. But in 2019, maximum Pell Grant funding covered just 29% of the average cost of tuition, with most students receiving less than the maximum amount.

Learn more about helping students with their basic needs and how students succeed when financial barriers are removed here.

Supporting Student Basic Needs
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative