Caring for the whole student

At the University of California, we are committed to ensuring our students have the resources to achieve their full potential. That includes instituting critical basic needs services, supports and policies that prioritize social justice, financial stability and health equity for all.


Delivering on the promise of higher education means serving students from all walks of life. Yet, across the country, millions of students struggle with stable access to food and housing. The rising cost of college, coupled with a high cost of living and diminished value of federal financial aid, has increased the stress of managing expenses, especially among low-income and economically vulnerable students.


UC has launched a comprehensive initiative to address basic needs insecurity and ensure students have the means to support their well-being. The initiative seeks to identify the root causes of basic needs insecurity and provide a systemwide safety net so that students are able to succeed and thrive.

Learn more about UC Basic Needs


Leading systemic change to promote justice and equity for all students

UC is working toward one of the largest anti-poverty and economic justice efforts in its history: to cut the number of its students experiencing basic needs insecurity in half by 2025.

Read more about Basic Needs goals

Student holding mulberries from one of UC San Diego's gardens
Person viewed from the back picking fruit from a tree


A growing network of people and programs to support student success

The collective impact of campus, community and county services and programs is critical to helping students who are basic needs insecure. Statewide advocacy and support have led to funding that improves access to services like food assistance, rapid rehousing, financial literacy, cooking workshops, mental health support and other free services.

Read more about Basic Needs services for students


UC students share their basic needs stories

"It was hard to concentrate on classes when I was worried about paying rent and where I could get meals. The basic needs resources on campus have been essential to minimizing my stress regarding essential needs like food and housing."


Community spaces for community care

All 10 UC campuses have on-site basic needs centers, providing food, emergency housing and a comprehensive range of support services — any UC student can use services at the basic needs center nearest them, not just on the campus where they are enrolled. Trained staff and students on each campus can connect students to essential services and supports.


UC's progress to improve basic needs

The UC Basic Needs Goals Tracker monitors systemwide progress to support student basic needs.

Student sits on bench at UC Merced


UC Systemwide Reciprocity Resources

This document compiles the ongoing basic needs programs and services offered to all UC students, regardless of home campus and geographic location.

View the UC Systemwide Reciprocity Resources document


Understanding the total impact of basic needs insecurity

Review survey data from 2016, 2018 and 2020 to see how basic needs insecurity impacts student learning, engagement, satisfaction and outcomes.

View the Student Basic Needs Dashboard