• Securing the Basic Needs of College Students in Greater Philadelphia During a Pandemic: A #RealCollegePHL Report

      The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice (Temple University) (Temple University. The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, 2021-05)
      Philadelphia-area colleges and universities were reeling from the coronavirus pandemic as they entered fall 2020. Mirroring national trends, enrollment was down, particularly among those students most at risk of basic needs insecurity; fewer students completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); and college retention rates dropped. Students and faculty were stressed and anxious. By the end of the term, local hospitals spent weeks caring for almost a thousand Philadelphians suffering with and often dying from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. This report examines how Philadelphia-area students and institutions fared during that exceptionally challenging time. The data come from our sixth-annual #RealCollege Survey, which assessed students’ experiences of food and housing insecurity, homelessness, employment, mental health, and academic engagement. While past work by The Hope Center indicates that more than half of area two-year students and about one-third of area four-year students experience food and/or housing insecurity, and more than one in 10 experience homelessness, this report sheds light on the unique challenges faced in 2020 during the pandemic. The report is part of our #RealCollegePHL project, which aims to document basic needs insecurity among area college students and to bolster institutional and community efforts to address those needs. In the Philadelphia region, the survey was distributed to more than 82,700 students attending 13 colleges and universities, and taken by 8,953 students, yielding an estimated response rate of 11%.