A higher education degree is viewed by many as the greatest opportunity for long-term economic stability, a pathway toward asset growth, and debt management (Ma, Pender, & Welch, 2016). However, many students experience barriers to meeting their basic needs as they strive to earn a higher education degree. Phase 1 of the CSU Chancellor’s Office study of basic needs was released in 2016. That study focused on housing security and very low food security for students, primarily from the perspectives of staff, faculty, and administrators.
Phase 2 is a mixed-methods study (N=24,537) that explored experiences of students with homelessness, low and very low food security. A survey was distributed to a census sample across 23 CSU campuses with an average participation rate of 5.76% (n=24,324). The sample was largely representative of the general student body. Student participants volunteered and were selected for focus groups and interviews based on reported levels of homelessness and food insecurity from the survey. Interview and focus group data were collected at 11 CSU campuses with students (n=213) who identified as either or both housing and food insecure on the quantitative survey.