Happy March, Hope Community!

This month, we’re celebrating Women’s History Month. We acknowledge that reproductive access is under legislative attack, and Black, Latine and other women of color face disproportionately high rates of basic needs insecurity. Trans women are also at the receiving end of a record number of transphobic bills sweeping through the country and threatening their mobility, safety, and expression.

Inaction in the face of these policy attacks on women, transgender people and other gender diverse populations is dangerous. The fight for gender parity and inclusion is far from over. We invite you to join us in learning more about how all of us can step up and become better allies for structurally marginalized communities. We are reminded by the sadly evergreen words of Audre Lorde, I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”

As a starting point, we mapped out the impact of the almost 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that were introduced in state legislatures this year in a new blog post. We sat down with experts from the Williams Institute at UCLA Law and the UMass Amherst Stonewall Center to understand how these transphobic policies threaten the basic needs security of trans and non-binary students.

We wish this were the only challenge facing students in these dystopian times. On March 1, millions of Americans—including students—lost hundreds of dollars per month in additional SNAP benefits that helped families stay afloat during the pandemic. Over on TikTok, our Director of Policy & Advocacy Mark Huelsman unpacks the impact on students.

This is a longer-than-usual intro, and our hearts are heavy while writing this newsletter. We are committed to ensuring basic needs security and postsecondary success for LGBTQ+ students, students of color, and other institutionally marginalized student populations. We wish you strength in the collective fight against inequity. ❤️‍🩹✨

With gratitude,

The Hope Center Team

New Blog Alert:

How Anti-Trans Legislation Threatens Students’ Basic Needs Security

We strongly condemn the record number of transphobic laws that are rocking state legislatures across the country just two months into 2023. As more and more anti-LGBTQ+ bills are written into law and expression of transgender identity continues to be criminalized, the stakes for trans students are cruelly high.

In our latest blog, we sat down with Dr. Kerith Conron, Research Director at UCLA Law’s Williams Institute, Elana Redfield, Federal Policy Director at the Williams Institute, and Dr. Genny Beemyn, the Director of the UMass Amherst Stonewall Center and the coordinator of Campus Pride's Trans Policy Clearinghouse, to discuss the implications of these draconian bills on students.

Some bills prevent trans people from using restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. Other state laws restrict access to gender-affirming healthcare, including hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgeries, which can be essential for the well-being of trans students.

Head over to our blog to learn more about the many threats facing LGBTQ+ student populations. We also explore how institutions can support their trans and non-binary student populations. Institutional leaders can and should step up to support their gender diverse students.

Read the Blog

ICYMI: Students enrolled in SNAP will see less in benefits starting this month

Extra SNAP benefits that Congress allocated during the COVID-19 pandemic officially expired on March 1. This means that families receiving assistance to cover the cost of food through SNAP could receive up to $250 less than they used to.

What does this mean for the food security of students who rely on SNAP? Mark Huelsman, our superstar Director of Policy and Advocacy, details the impact of this expiration on students and families in a bite-sized TikTok.

Follow us on TikTok!

Statement on the Biden-Harris Administration Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Proposal

Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration released their proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. The FY24 budget includes a wide range of investments in students. In particular, we are encouraged that the Administration has included a permanent federal-state partnership for free community college—including a $500 million grant program for individual community colleges and state systems to expand tuition-free programs—as well as new affordability guarantees for four-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), or Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).

Our in-house Policy and Advocacy experts explain how the budget can impact students’ basic needs. We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration on these issues and other proposals to expand investments in students and address the full cost of higher education.

Full Statement

Students Speak: Responses From Our Survey

Institutions have begun fielding our brand new, redesigned Hope Center Student Basic Needs Survey and we have over 30,000 (and counting) responses so far!

Though survey responses will be rolling in throughout the next few months, we couldn’t wait to share some insightful perspectives from students—the true experts whose lived-experiences inform our work.

We will continue to lift their responses throughout our data collection period to remind us that the system is not working.

Read Student Responses on Our Website!

Students, we are rooting for you. Let’s fight basic needs insecurity together. 💪

The Hope Center’s Hope Impact Partnerships (HIP) program is how colleges and universities can participate in the Hope Center Student Basic Needs Survey as well as collaborate with Hope Center staff and other higher education partners to not only identify students’ basic needs, but develop strategies and actions to address them.

HIP’s three partnership levels range from survey-only to bundled research, training, and coaching options.

Learn More About HIP

Resources for Learning About Women’s History Month and Bisexual Health Awareness Month

During Women’s History Month, we are sharing resources to learn about the ways in which recent attacks on reproductive access and anti-trans legislation affect women and other people who can become pregnant. We also want to recognize the grit, resilience and activism of queer women and women of color in moving the needle in the face of intersectional violence. We’re forever grateful.

March is also Bisexual Health Awareness Month. Until recently, statistics on bisexual health were not disaggregated from gay and lesbian data. Bisexual individuals experience disproportionately high rates of substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and STI diagnoses. Rampant biphobia in health care makes it even more challenging for them to seek support.

In the face of heightened transphobia across the country, we’re elevating this guide by the Radical Copyeditor on how to talk and write about transgender people in an asset-framed way. Language is a powerful tool for advocacy, and we are so thankful for Alex Kapitan’s work in helping us leverage it.