The Hope Center



The #RealCollegeTexas initiative is a partnership between The Hope Center and Texas institutions and students to identify solutions that better meet the needs of students. This includes ensuring they can afford groceries and housing and reduces barriers they face accessing transportation, child care, medical and mental health care.  

Each fall, more than 1.5 million students flock to Texas’s colleges and universities to seek the degrees that will unlock their future. But many will have a hard time concentrating on their studies. Basic needs insecurity is prevalent among Texas college students, worsened by the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying recession.

A survey by The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice of 13,000 college students at 14 Texas colleges and universities found that almost two-thirds of Texas students experienced basic needs insecurity in the fall 2020 semester. The survey found widespread lack of access to food, housing, medical care, and other basic needs.

Getting students the basic needs security that ensures they can focus on their studies is a massive challenge.  But Texans have taken on tough challenges before – and achieved them. The #RealCollegeTexas project will strive for systemic reforms across the Lone Star State, advancing policies that reduce basic needs insecurity, close equity gaps, and promote economic mobility.

For more information please contact Senior Policy Analyst Thomas Hilliard at

#RealCollegeTexas Webinar

Watch The Hope Center’s May 18 webinar recording to preview the survey results, learn more about how the pandemic impacted students’ basic needs, and hear from college leaders about their own work to support students’ basic needs and to achieve Texas’s college attainment and equity goals.


This work has been supported by the Prentice & Alline Brown Foundation.