Addressing Housing Insecurity and Living Costs in Higher Education

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab have co-authored a new resource, Addressing Housing Insecurity and Living Costs in Higher Education: A Guidebook for Colleges and Universities. This guidebook assists institutions of higher education as they consider, evaluate, implement, and scale up programs and policies to support students’ learning, persistence, and completion.  With college enrollment rates high, despite stagnant or declining family incomes and increasing college costs, today many college students are struggling to make ends meet. Improving the quality of students’ lives is essential to boosting their odds of success in school.

Drawing on examples from institutions nationwide, this guidebook describes strategies that colleges and universities can implement in order to support students facing housing insecurity and challenges covering other living costs, such as food and childcare. Strategies include, for instance, establishing a campus Single Point of Contact, connecting students with benefits, and providing emergency aid.

HUD has recently explored and promoted a range of strategies to support students, including those enrolled in higher education. The Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s first translational laboratory aimed at identifying new and effective ways to minimize barriers to college completion so that more students can reach their full potential, has published essential research exploring these challenges and identifying ways to support students.