For Immediate Release

The deadline for college-access nonprofit partners to apply is April 8

The San Diego Foundation announced today that it has $300,000 in grants available for local nonprofit college access and success organizations to support students’ basic needs, including food, housing, transportation, healthcare and education.

“Students shouldn’t have to worry about being able to afford their next meal,” said Michelle Jaramillo, Director of Education Initiatives for The San Diego Foundation. “Investing in the basic needs of college students is an investment in strong academic performance, degree attainment and a solid regional economy where we can all prosper.”

Research shows that college students cannot adequately focus on learning if they’re struggling with meeting their basic needs, which results in lower GPAs, continuation rates and graduation rates. To better support San Diego college students, the Basic Needs & College Success Grant Program hopes to support nonprofit programs that will:

  • Increase student access to nutritious and sufficient food
  • Connect students to safe, secure and adequate housing (to sleep, study, cook and shower)
  • Promote sustained mental and physical well-being and social-emotional support
  • Provide connections to affordable transportation assistance
  • Supply resources for personal hygiene care
  • Offer emergency funds
  • Deliver access to affordable and reliable internet access as well as technology devices

College-access nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply for the Basic Needs & College Success Grant Program by 2 p.m., Friday, April 8. The Foundation anticipates funding seven to 10 nonprofit organizations at a range of $30,000 to $50,000 per grant.

California’s high cost of living, the COVID-19 pandemic and recent inflation have left college students increasingly experiencing food and housing insecurity, and depression and anxiety. According to a new report from the California Policy Lab at University of California Berkeley, about 230,000 California community college students and more than 30,000 UC undergraduate and graduate students receive food stamps and are enrolled in the CalFresh Program.

CalFresh enrollment was higher among UC and community college students identifying as Black compared to the overall student population, higher among community college students identifying as American Indian/Alaska Native and higher among UC undergraduate students identifying as Hispanic/Latino/Chicano. In addition, according to a report from the Office of the California State University system, more than 40% of students reported food insecurity, including nearly 70% of Black, first-generation students reporting food insecurity and 18% experiencing homelessness. More than 52,000 CSU students overall said they experienced homelessness.