Helping With Students’ Basic Needs
HSU is taking seriously the challenges some students face with basic needs like housing and food. Even as student loan debt for HSU students has dropped over the last decade, college is a big expense, and that sometimes forces students to make difficult decisions.
HSU Social Work Professor Jennifer Maguire is a national leader in studying the basic needs challenge for college students and raising awareness about the issue. She has conducted extensive research on food and housing insecurity at HSU and across the California State University system.
While the challenges aren’t unique to Humboldt State, we’re trying innovative new ideas to help.
HSU’s efforts include Oh SNAP!, which was formed with student leadership in 2013. The program features a food pantry and seasonal farm stand, offers gardening and cooking workshops and helps about 1,000 students per year sign up for CalFresh, the state’s food assistance program.
Since October 2016, Oh SNAP! has distributed more than seven tons of food leftover from various campus events, and in 2016, HSU became one of the first universities in the nation to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer cards for food purchases.
HSU is making headway on housing insecurity as well. A new Housing liaison position helps students who find themselves without stable housing navigate the local rental market. The liaison also advocates for student needs and provides help to students moving off campus.
This year, HSU is developing a program that will educate both landlords and tenants. Along with the City of Arcata and the Humboldt Area Foundation, HSU has prioritized access to affordable housing as part of the Equity Arcata initiative to create a more equitable community. And HSU is currently planning for additional on-campus student housing, with a concept for a project to be presented to the CSU Board of Trustees sometime in 2019.
At the state level, Maguire and HSU President Lisa A. Rossbacher have lobbied state legislators to expand support programs for students in need.
Alumni and donors have stepped in to help as well. In addition supporting scholarships and academic programs, they’ve given thousands to help with basic needs through the Food For Thought fund and the new Student Adversity Fund.
Read more about basic needs and HSU’s efforts to support students.
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Don’t forget -- the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be submitted every year for students to receive aid. Deadline to apply for the 2019-20 school year is March 2. Visit HSU’s Financial Aid website to learn more and apply.
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