College students are struggling to fulfill their own basic needs while attending university. They are sometimes forced to choose between their educational goals and paying their bills. Attending university has become much more expensive in recent years. Average tuition prices rising by 35% within the last decade. There are not many robust sources of financial aid for students. For example, the Pell Grant was developed to help cover the cost of college for low-income students. In 2019, the maximum amount awarded was only able to cover 29% of the average tuition cost. Most students receive far less than the maximum award.
The good news is that there is a variety of basic need support for students, ranging from housing to food support. Students that apply for these programs are often able to reduce their financial stress, buy material for their classes, and continue their enrollment. Unfortunately, many students are not properly aware of what resources may be available on their campuses. At four-year universities, almost half of all eligible students are unaware of emergency housing. 40% of students are unaware of housing assistance. Easing these students’ financial concerns can help raise the graduation rate for low-income or POC student populations.