California Community Colleges Now Offer Basic Needs For All Students

California colleges are now required to offer basic needs centers to help students with various struggles.

By Erika Hanson | Published

University Warns Professors Not To Discuss Abortions Or Contraception With Students

basic needs

Many young adults and teens across the United States are struggling to find basic needs amid tumultuous social, economic, and health struggles exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Food and housing insecurity is a major concern for young adults grappling with this finding. Understanding this major problem, community colleges across California are now required to offer basic needs for all college students. 

A California Assembly bill was recently amended and now requires all community colleges within the Golden State to offer basic needs assistance for students. Effective July 1st, it required all campuses to hire a basic needs coordinator that would establish a physical center to offer aid to students in need of food and housing necessities. These basic needs centers are viewed by many as a successful endeavor in addressing a major crisis among adolescent college students across the state.

These basic needs centers are crucial to alleviate the many stressors affecting college students’ lives. The major focus is on providing those in need of housing assistance and nutrition. However, many of these programs help students find affordable means to pay for insurance, low-cost medical care, internet needs, and even help them apply for various assistance programs. Some existing centers have paved the way for this new initiative for many years.

Student housing is a major issue all throughout California. The economy has skyrocketed the prices for both on-and-off-campus housing as demands continue to increase. This has left many students with no other option than to live homeless while attending school. These new basic needs centers were put in place to alleviate these situations and make sure that no college student lives without shelter. 

At the University of California, Irvine, a social worker running the school’s basic needs center said that student housing is the biggest concern the assistance program is now faced with when helping students. Speaking with EdSource, Christy Molino with the UCI Center called the housing matter a “crisis”. She added that plenty of students contacting the center are struggling to find housing just before a new semester is set to begin. 

Many of these basic needs centers began their endeavor solely operating as food pantries for students. This also remains a serious concern for campuses across California as plenty of students still struggle to afford to purchase food products. Since the onset of the pandemic, three out of five students were said to have issues with food insecurities. In California, more than half of community college students reported coping with weekly food cost increases. This was exceptionally burdensome on Black, Latino, Native American, and Alaska Native students.

basic needs

California is now allocating $100 million in state funds to ignite these basic needs centers in the state’s community colleges. On top of that, $40 million will be reserved each year to support the assistance centers. It’s an endeavor that state universities like the University of California have proven successful for more than a decade. Because of this, other progressive states may soon follow suit amid a turbulent economy.