Happy almost-March, Hope Community!

As February comes to an end, we invite you to continue learning about Black history, and the ways in which higher education has historically failed Black students.

We encourage you to explore the intersectional nature of basic needs insecurity at a time when students of color, graduate students, parenting students, transgender students, and students belonging to other structurally marginalized identities are being silenced—and bearing the brunt of inflation.

Among many starting points: SA Voices from the Field is a podcast that provides insight from student affairs professionals from around the world and offers advice on how practitioners can better support students. In this episode, the hosts discuss best practices in centering equity and inclusion on college campuses with Dr. Alexandra Hughes, host of the Association for Student Conduct Administration Viewpoints podcast.

We also have a new blog post, highlighting how institutions can work with their states to address basic needs insecurity. Read on for more Hope updates and, as always, feel free to slide into our inbox with suggestions for higher ed champions to highlight!

With gratitude,

The Hope Center Team

ICYMI: Congress Needs to Address the Child Care Crisis for Parenting Students. Here’s How.

Nearly four million college students are attending college while raising dependent children of their own. These students juggle their coursework with parenting, while also holding down a job in some instances. As a result of inflation and the rising cost of attaining a degree, they face high rates of basic needs insecurity. Black, Latine, and other students with structurally marginalized identities are disproportionately impacted.

There are at least three programs that Congress can invest in to deliver affordable child care and other financial assistance to parenting students:

  • ☑️ The Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program

  • ☑️ The Child Tax Credit (CTC), and

  • ☑️ The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG).

Our resident Policy & Advocacy experts Mark Huelsman and Leslie Rios make the case for Congress to increase its investment in parenting students.

Read the Full Post

🚨 New Blog Post Alert 🚨

Institutions can—and should—play a key role in combatting basic needs insecurity on campus, and ensuring that students are in the know about federal supports such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan’s first community college, is setting a great example of a student-centered approach towards basic needs access. In partnership with the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, the school created a new basic needs specialist position helmed by Marjri Weller.

Read the Full Post

Basic Needs Are Fundamental to Student Mental Health

We're hard at work supporting colleges and universities to address students’ mental health alongside their other basic needs. We hosted a mental health learning session for our Hope Impact Partners in which Drs. Nick Freudenberg and Christa Banton shared excellent efforts taking place at the City University of New York and Barstow Community College.

Additionally, Dr. Sara Abelson, an Assistant Professor and Senior Director at Hope, joined Hope collaborators at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, partners from the Steve Fund, Jed Foundation, and Active Minds (pictured), and 10 Texas colleges at the Trellis Foundation Postsecondary Mental Health & Wellbeing Learning Community convening in San Antonio. We were inspired to hear colleges and funders alike thinking creatively and innovatively about:

🧠 the importance of addressing basic needs insecurity as a root cause of mental health problems and

🧠 the opportunity to promote mental health and treat mental illness in postsecondary settings as a key strategy for keeping students housed, fed, safe, employed, learning, and thriving.

Students Speak: Responses From Our Survey

Institutions have begun fielding our brand new, redesigned Hope Center Student Basic Needs Survey and we have over 23,000 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 Black History, and Supporting Black Student Populations Year-Round

Though Black History Month is nearing an end, we invite you to join us in committing to anti-racism year-round. Black Americans continue to experience disproportionately high student loan debt, declining college enrollment, police brutality, and other forms of systemic violence. It’s our responsibility—and our honor—to uplift their voices.

This month, we’re celebrating what would have been the 89th birthday of civil rights activist and poet Audre Lorde. Her legacy encompasses intersectional thought and self-care as a force of resistance and anti-racism.