ECMC Foundation Basic Needs Initiative Evaluation

February 2022
three college students

In the past few decades, the cost of college has risen significantly. As a result, many students struggle to afford the full cost of college attendance, which includes tuition and fees as well as food, housing, transportation, child care for student parents, school supplies, access to the internet, and other living expenses. As a result, college students may experience basic needs insecurity, a lack of access to what they need to survive and thrive in a postsecondary academic setting. In fall 2020, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice surveyed over 195,000 students from 130 two-year colleges and 72 four-year colleges and universities and found that three in five college students reported experiencing food insecurity, housing insecurity, and/or homelessness.

To address this challenge, ECMC Foundation launched the Basic Needs Initiative. Through the three-year initiative, a group of seven grantees comprised of institutions, community college associations, and nonprofit partners received funding and support to build systemic, sustainable solutions for meeting college students’ basic needs.

Education Northwest supports the Basic Needs Initiative in two ways:

  • Our external evaluation examines how grantees support implementation of basic needs services, explores progress among partner institutions in implementing and sustaining basic needs services, and examines student-level data to investigate the impact of basic needs services on academic outcomes.
  • We facilitate a learning community so that grantees can share successes and challenges and learn about research and promising practices.

Basic Needs Initiative Case Studies


Final Report    /   Implementation Rubric

Early Findings    /   Survey Findings