The Hope Center


More than 170,000 Philadelphians started but never finished their degrees. That’s one in seven adults in Philadelphia. 

Philadelphia Skyline

Our research shows that money is a key reason why – in particular, insufficient funds to afford food, housing, transportation, and childcare.

In fall 2019 we surveyed more than 5,600 Philadelphia college students and found:

  • 38% were food insecure in past 30 days
  • 36% were housing insecure in the past 12 months
  • 13% were homelessness in the past 12 months 

Check out our full survey report, released April 28, 2020, and related article and OpEd in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

We must do better than this. The #RealCollegePHL initiative helps colleges and universities partner with community organizations, the private sector, and policymakers to fill in these gaps for students. 

Our vision:

We envision a Philadelphia where every student who wants to pursue education beyond high school is free from the anxieties and barriers of inadequate food, lack of affordable housing, or costly child care. We envision a Philadelphia where every college and university in our city is student-ready and committed and able to fully serve the students they have. We envision a Philadelphia that is no longer the poorest big city in the nation, a city that is a leader in poverty reduction through the strategic and compassionate investment in its striving college students. 


Join us now: 

We hope that every higher education institution in Philadelphia will join us. Sign up now!

We also seek community partners who feel they can offer support to students—whether through services, advocacy, funding, or another mechanism. If you are a community organization, foundation or individual interested in the RCPHL project, go to our interest form and tell us a little about your organization.

This work is supported by the Lenfest Foundation, and our community partners include the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity.
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