The Hope Center

#RealCollege Technical Assistance

#RealCollege Logo

For almost 20 years, the Hope Center’s experienced team has provided guidance to higher education leaders, policymakers, and advocates to center evidence-based practices that advance efforts to increase college access and degree completion. Our staff’s wide array of expertise in research, policy, and higher education practices, offer our partners the opportunity to build their capacity to advance #RealCollege work, increasing student well-being and academic success.

Our technical assistance focuses on driving systemic and institutional changes that reduce the basic needs insecurity of students and improve college attainment, especially for students with the greatest barriers to completion. This includes helping policymakers and higher education leaders envision and carry out changes that result in holistic and comprehensive approaches to student success. We specialize in the creation and adoption of student-centered policies and approaches at the local, institutional, state and federal levels.

Most of our work focuses on grant or contract funded technical assistance to higher education leaders and policymakers and intermediaries. We can also help you identify potential grant funding sources and guide the development of proposals that would engage our technical assistance. Here some examples of how we support our key partners.

#RealCollege Coalitions

The COVID-19 pandemic brought new and heightened challenges when it comes to students’ basic needs, and especially their need for support with emergency aid and related services. These services will address basic needs insecurity, particularly food and housing insecurity and homelessness, among students. Between August 2021 and May 2022, the Hope Center will support 52 institutions in building capacity in the areas of advising, emergency aid, institutional research, institutional policy, and state policy to advance an ecosystem of support for students’ basic needs. Learn more about this initiative here.

The project is funded through a grant awarded by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

orange brushstroke

Here is an overview of all of the technical assistance opportunities Hope is offering in 2021.

To request support from the Hope Center’s Technical Assistance team, please write to

orange brushstroke

Higher Education

We offer expert consulting on approaches for integrating basic needs supports into your higher education institution’s enrollment management and student affairs strategies and helping students feel welcome on your campus. That support may include:

  • Strategic data collection and equity-driven data analysis to support your basic needs agenda;
  • Guidance in planning and implementing equitable and impactful practices in key areas such as financial aid, benefits access, emergency aid, and community partnership relationships, as well as how to imbed basic needs work in your guided pathways agenda;
  • Change management and capacity building for institution leaders, management teams, faculty, and front-line staff to increase awareness of and implement methods that elevate basic needs work;
  • Strategic guidance on policy advocacy at the state and federal levels; and
  • Networking opportunities to connect with experienced practitioners and philanthropists invested in advancing #RealCollege work.

Policymakers and Intermediaries

We support policymakers, agency staff, advocacy organizations, and other groups with actionable and specific recommendations that improve college attainment with an emphasis on students’ basic needs.  This may include:

  • Analyses of legislative, regulatory, statutory and administrative policy to identify opportunities for alignment;
  • Assessing opportunities to maximize allowable federal and state flexibility in public benefit programs;
  • Landscape assessments of partnerships, initiatives and other programs to maximize and align efforts that impact students;
  • Opportunities for improved cross-agency partnerships and data sharing;
  • Guidance on how to blend and/or braid federal and state funding streams; 
  • Sharing knowledge of emerging or proven models and practices around the country that offer promise to inform technical assistance efforts.

To request support from the Hope Center’s Technical Assistance team, please write to