Higher Education Needs to Incorporate Basic Student Needs
It’s no secret that college tuition prices have skyrocketed over the past several decades. From 2008 to 2019, tuition costs have risen 35% on average. From a financial standpoint, many students are struggling to sustain themselves while in school. 43% of full-time students are working in addition to attending classes, but they are still struggling to provide for their own basic needs.
In 2020 nationally, nearly 3 in 5 students experienced basic needs insecurity, which meant that they were unable to access stable sources of food, housing, and other necessities. Food insecurity was a major threat for many students, with half of the respondents claiming they have experienced signs of it before. Basic needs insecurity can affect many aspects of a student’s life. 25% of students have dropped a class due to financial reasons and even if they do decide to stay, they are 15x more likely to fail than their financially stable counterparts.
There are resources to financially support students, such as the Pell Grant. However, in 2019, Pell Grant funding only covered 29% of the average cost of tuition, meaning students were dealing with a lot of unmet financial needs. In Kentucky, 47% of first-year students have unmet financial needs exceeding $5,000.