Low-income students face unique financial challenges in college that can make higher education seem unattainable. However, there are many programs to help these students succeed and budget for their education. Learn how universities support low-income students and learn more about the opportunities available on and off campus. Students are at disproportionate risk of experiencing housing insecurity, and many struggle to find adequate and affordable housing close to their campus.
However, even if a campus offers housing, it's not always an option for all students, since it's rarely designed to house families, and many universities don't allow children to stay on campus, even in their emergency housing programs for homeless students. At 18 community colleges across the country, Single Stop USA helps low-income students overcome barriers to success, including housing needs. Depending on the student's medical and financial situation, this may be the most affordable option for students seeking health insurance coverage. The best resources for low-income students are college programs designed to increase the persistence of underserved students.
Scholarships can be used to pay for tuition or can be used for housing expenses, even if the student lives off campus. Even after factoring in student capacity, many low-income students don't attend college compared to their higher-income peers. Within the California State University and University of California systems, most campuses have long offered on-campus accommodation during and between academic periods for eligible students, although places tend to be limited, as campuses tend to have more students than the housing available on campus. Some schools, such as Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State Northridge and most campuses in the University of California system, have offered housing for family students for years.
Most of the research done to date on the intersection between housing and college success has considered the benefits of campus housing. Evidence also shows that, as students move toward post-secondary education, housing conditions continue to affect their educational success. Assuming that a student's parents have medical care, children under 26 can stay on their parents' health insurance plan, which will normally be cheaper than if the student takes out private insurance on their own. Some campuses that don't have family housing for students are experiencing increasing demand, university authorities reported in an EdSource survey.
Students generally cannot participate in SNAP, but some non-traditional or low-income students are still eligible. This increase in requests for family accommodation for students is a new need that adds to the demand for more student housing in general. Among California's community colleges, only 11 of the 116 campuses offer any type of student housing.