College and University Basic Needs Insecurity: A National #RealCollege Survey Report

The #RealCollege survey is the nation’s largest annual assessment of basic needs security among college students. The survey, created by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice (Hope Center), specifically evaluates access to affordable food and housing. This report describes the results of the #RealCollege survey administered in the fall of 2018 at 123 two- and four-year institutions across the United States.

Nearly 86,000 students participated in the survey. Among our findings were the following:

  • 45% of respondents were food insecure in the prior 30 days
  • 56% of respondents were housing insecure in the previous year
  • 17% of respondents were homeless in the previous year

We made several recommendations for legislators, administrators, and others interested in addressing the issues highlighted in the National #RealCollege Survey report including:

  • Appoint a Director of Student Wellness and Basic Needs.
  • Engage community organizations and the private sector in proactive, rather than reactive, support.
  • Develop and expand an emergency aid program.