The Hope Center


#RealCollege is a national movement created by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Focused on the realities, struggles, and triumphs of what it means to be in college today, #RealCollege seeks to transform the landscape of higher education so that all students can afford and complete their studies.

Historically disempowered students and colleges become more powerful when they work together, pooling resources to alter the future of higher education. #RealCollege coalitions form the basis of the movement. All our coalitions commit to a single fundamental premise:  Secure access to food, housing and other basic needs are essential to academic success in higher education and must, therefore, be treated as a top educational priority.

#RealCollegeCalifornia Impact:

As a result of engaging in the Coalition’s offerings, college leaders and districts:

  • Used data to inform basic needs programming and interventions
  • Implemented strategies to support students with equitable emergency aid models (doubling graduation rates)
  • Strategized to develop innovative programs to secure housing

Addressing students’ basic needs is hard and necessary work. We need to do it as a community, and #RealCollegeCA brings us together as allies in support of our students.

Keith Curry, Ed.D., President/CEO, Compton College

The upcoming cycle of the #RealCollegeCalifornia Coalition brings new benefits to participating institutions. Check out this overview of the supports and renew or become a member by October 15.

The Coalition in its Third Year (2021-2022):

Envisioned by the Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce, the #RealCollegeCalifornia Coalition was created in 2019 to provide the latest evidence, integrated with hands-on guidance to inform implementation and help members develop a cutting-edge mindset to increase their institutional effectiveness. The Hope Center works with participating institutions to provide technical assistance, professional development training, and coaching to engage in the latest state of the arts practices.

In a post-pandemic environment, the Coalition aims to strengthen California’s ecosystems to support students’ basic needs and promote college completion. New offerings are designed to help colleges:

  • Learn how to assess and analyze students’ basic needs and experiences with the new economics of college,
  • Optimize HEERF III funds’ allocation to maximize student relief,
  • Cope with emergency aid challenges,
  • Strengthen and expand community alliances to better support students,
  • Increase students’ basic needs supports utilization, and much more!

#RealCollegeCalifornia Additional Benefits:

Members of the Coalition have free access to:

  1. Professional development for administrators, faculty, and front-line staff (e.g., financial aid, basic needs coordinators)
  2. Learning opportunities to optimize the delivery of services and implementation of evidence-based and promising practices
  3. Office Hours to get advice and coaching about specific basic needs-related issues including funding, change management, asset mapping, and basic needs strategy
  4. Tools and resources, including private platforms to access asynchronous sessions and communicate with Hope staff

Being part of this community of practitioners is really helping us enhance the delivery of supports we offer to students during the pandemic.

Justin Mendez, Basic Needs Program Manager, Long Beach City College

Check out this overview of the supports and renew or become a member to participate.

#RealCollegeCalifornia Membership

All California higher education institutions are invited to join the #RealCollegeCalifornia Coalition. To do so, institutions should complete a membership form, including affirming the commitment statement and issuing the membership payment to the Community College League of California.

The membership pricing is based on the institution’s student headcount and includes individualized technical assistance and coaching. Please note that the membership fee can be covered by HEERF funds:  

  • 10,000 students or less
  • 10,000 – 20,000 students
  • 20,001 – 30,000 students
  • 30,001 students or more


Note: District pricing varies according to the number of colleges in them. A portion of the membership fee ($300) will be used to support the annual #RealCollegeCalifornia Summit. The membership cycle runs from September 1 to August 31.

This coming cycle is your chance to join us! Check out this overview of the supports we are offering and sign up by October 15 to participate.

For additional information or questions please contact  

2020-2021 #RealCollege California Coalition Members:

  • Allan Hancock College
  • American River College
  • Cabrillo College Watsonville Center
  • Cabrillo College Main Campus
  • Cañada College
  • Clovis Community College
  • Compton College
  • Cosumnes River College
  • Cuyamaca College
  • Cypress College
  • De Anza College
  • East Los Angeles College
  • Evergreen Valley College
  • Folsom Lake College
  • Foothill College
  • Fullerton Community College
  • Imperial Valley College
  • Lake Tahoe College
  • Laney College
  • Long Beach City College
  • Los Angeles City College
  • Los Angeles Harbor College
  • Los Angeles Mission College
  • Los Angeles Pierce College
  • Los Angeles TradeTech College
  • Los Angeles Valley College
  • Los Angles Southwest College
  • Mt. San Antonio College
  • Ohlone College
  • Porterville College
  • Sacramento City College
  • San Bernardino Valley College
  • San Diego City College
  • San Diego Continuing Education
  • San Diego Mesa College
  • San Diego Miramar College
  • San Jose City College
  • Santa Ana College
  • West Los Angeles College

2021-2022 #RealCollege California-LACCD Technical Assistance Coalition Members:

The Los Angeles Community College District has partnered with the Hope Center to scale best practices in addressing student basic needs insecurity. Over the next year, the institutions will work collaboratively to build 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 #RealCollege technical assistance initiatives at the Hope Center here.

  • East Los Angeles College
  • Los Angeles City College
  • Los Angeles Harbor College
  • Los Angeles Mission College
  • Los Angeles Southwest College
  • Los Angeles Trade-Technical College
  • Los Angeles Valley College
  • Pierce College
  • West Los Angeles College