The Hope Center

#RealCollege Conference 2023

#RealCollege Conference 2023: #RealChange for Students
Tuesday, April 25 – Thursday, April 27, 2023
Rutgers University–Camden
Campus Center Building | 326 Penn St. | Camden, NJ


Note: Due to a recent surge in COVID cases that is widely predicted to continue into the fall, as well as the now-scheduled inauguration of Temple University’s President Jason Wingard on September 17, we have decided to postpone our in-person conference until April 25–27, 2023 at Rutgers University–Camden. We also appreciate your registration for our conference originally planned for September, and we will fully refund your registration due to the postponement. If you wish to register for either the #RealCollege Virtual Policy Summit on September 16, or the new in-person conference dates of April 25-27, 2023, you will need to re-register for those events. Additional registration details for both events will be provided by mid-August.

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About the #RealCollege Movement | About the Conference | For Registrants | For Session Submitters | For Scholarship Applicants | Partnership & Vendor Booth Opportunities | In-Person COVID-19 Safety Measures | Contact Information | Past #RealCollege Conferences

About the #RealCollege Movement

Educating students beyond high school is essential to America’s economic recovery, strength as a democracy, and ability to compete as a global leader. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our nation grapples with longstanding equity disparities that keep students from enrolling in college, earning a credential, and achieving their full potential. Nearly 3 in 5 college students struggle to access basic needs such as food and housing, and millions lack access to essential resources such as healthcare, childcare, transportation, and technology when pursuing a degree or credential.

Student basic needs insecurity is curtailing enrollment and hampering college completion at a time when we need it most. The social, political, and economic systems that converge for college attainment continue to fail students from non-privileged backgrounds. As #RealCollege research shows, students who identify across intersecting racial, ethnic, gender, ability, and other marginalized identities contend with basic needs insecurity the most.

Over the past several years, the #RealCollege movement has made important progress in helping institutions of higher education create ecosystems to support students’ basic needs. During our continued recovery, it is imperative that higher education stakeholders focus on systemic and sustainable change that builds a postsecondary landscape in which students have equitable access to the resources they need to meet their basic needs and succeed in college. 

About the Conference

The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice is holding the 5th annual #RealCollege Conference in-person and virtually April 25–27, 2023 at Rutgers University–Camden Campus in Camden, New Jersey. 

The 2023 #RealCollege Conference will convene leaders across the policy, research, and practice arenas to focus on federal, state, and local systemic change to meet students’ basic needs and advance equity in higher education outcomes. We are engaging cross-sector leaders to provide actionable guidance, strategic insight, and practical expertise to drive structural policy reforms that provide for #RealCollege students’ basic needs.

#RealCollege Conference 2023 will feature a program representing diverse perspectives, experiences, skills, and backgrounds. The agenda will focus on systemic change in the following topic areas:

  • Financial aid to cover students’  full cost of college: Federal and state efforts to make college more affordable by addressing both tuition and non-tuition costs for food, housing, course materials, transportation, child care, health care, and more;
  • Public benefits access for students: Improving student access to public benefit programs, including conducting outreach, and addressing eligibility restrictions that impede students’ basic needs security and create administrative burdens;
  • Pandemic-era reforms: Federal, state, and institutional pandemic-era supports and flexibilities that have helped students, including emergency aid, cash assistance, tax benefits, and flexibilities in public benefit programs;
  • Physical and mental health: Access to and delivery of physical and mental health care for students, including addressing disparities in student supports and resources; and
  • Data and evidence on basic needs: Sharing information on the extent and variation of basic needs insecurity across student populations, and building evidence on the impact of interventions on academic outcomes

For Registrants

We appreciate your registration for our conference originally planned for September, and we will fully refund your registration due to the postponement. If you wish to register for either the #RealCollege Virtual Policy Summit on September 16, or the new in-person conference dates of April 25-27, 2023, you will need to re-register for those events. Additional registration details for both events will be provided by mid-August.

For Session Submitters

We are deeply grateful for your submission of a session proposal for the conference. We will consider a limited number of sessions to be held virtually for our #RealCollege Virtual Policy Summit on September 16th. Other in-person sessions that were already submitted may also be considered for the new conference dates of April 25-27, 2023. We will be in touch by mid-August if your session is being considered for the #RealCollege Virtual Policy Summit to determine your availability.

For Scholarship Applicants

We appreciate your request for a scholarship to attend our conference. If you wish to attend the new in-person conference dates of April 25-27, 2023, you will need to reapply for a scholarship. We will also consider a limited number of scholarships to waive the registration fee for our #RealCollege Virtual Policy Summit on September 16, but you will also need to submit a new application. Details on this scholarship application will be sent to you by mid-August.

See what the #RealCollege Conference looks like and why it matters

Learn more about the #RealCollege Movement.

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Partnership & Vendor Booth Opportunities

Please explore our partnership options for the #RealCollege Conference and let us know how we can collaborate and advance the work to support students’ basic needs security.

For example, we have the following vendor booth opportunities:

$7,500 Corporate Vendor Booth

Your vendor booth gives you the opportunity to be in front of 500 advocates in the higher education space that are working to address student needs on campuses across the country. This is an opportunity to showcase your support of the movement and to market your product, solutions, and resources to attendees.

$2,500 Nonprofit Partner Vendor Booth

Your vendor booth gives you the opportunity to be in front of 500 advocates in the higher education space that are working to address student needs on campuses across the country. This is an opportunity to showcase your support of the movement and to market your product, solutions, and resources to attendees.

In-Person COVID-19 Safety Measures

The health and safety of our guests is our top priority. We are actively
monitoring COVID-19 cases and trends. Safety measures for the
conference will be updated according to the health and safety guidelines and recommendations at the time of the conference from federal, state, and local governments and Rutgers University-Camden. Attendees will be notified of these specific safety measures as we get closer to the conference.

We kindly ask that anyone joining us in-person who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 stay home to avoid contagion and notify Nia Fillo at nia@swaimstrategies.com right away so that we can accommodate for the change in plans.

Contact Information

Speaker/sponsor/exhibitor questions:
Tanya Mikkelson, Swaim Strategies, Conference Coordinator
tanya@swaimstrategies.com

Registration questions:
Nia Fillo, Swaim Strategies
nia@swaimstrategies.com

Past #RealCollege Conferences

Check out our #RealCollege Conferences from prior years here.