A Promising Future: Why Student Support is So Vital to Success

In 2020, nationally, nearly 2 in 5 college students experienced basic needs insecurity. In addition, according to a national student financial wellness survey, more than half of respondents showed signs of food insecurity, more than 40% dealt with housing insecurity, and over 10% reported homelessness. Students of color are more likely to experience these insecurities, but the success of all students across the country is in jeopardy.

Because of these struggles, many students are forced to pause or forego their education as a way to ensure that they can survive. The scariest part? Just 20% of students who pause their education for financial reasons will actually finish their degree. The reasons that college students are struggling is threefold: There has been a decrease in public funding for higher education, there has been a steep increase in tuition, and more students than ever before are entering college with insufficient financial resources. 

There have been several grant and institutional efforts to turn around this crisis among college students. However, this vicious cycle is still one that we as a society are dealing with today. Helping students meet their basic needs is a clear equity issue, and the barriers to accessing support are the main causes of said issue. Studies have shown that 3 in 4 students do not think they are eligible for aid, more than 2 in 3 think others are in greater need than themselves, and half don’t even know how to apply for aid. 

Despite these roadblocks, it is clear that supporting basic needs leads to success. Increasing access to aid, encouraging reaching out for help, and holding student success to the highest level of importance will make the future more promising for students nationwide.

Supporting Student Basic Needs
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative

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