Supporting College Students with Basic Needs Insecurities

Together we can provide critical support and practical programming, empowering each student with a solid foundation on which they can build their academic and personal triumphs.

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Who is Believe

in Students?

College is a main route out of poverty, a cornerstone in the building of a great society, and a key hiring prerequisite of many employers. But far too many students are facing poverty during college, keeping them from completing degrees. Financial aid falls well short of today’s prices and many college students do not have their basic needs met: a place to live, good food to eat, transportation to and from school.

Believe in Students is the nation’s only non-profit organization built to help college students meet those basic living expenses. We do this work by providing resources directly to students to help meet their basic needs, and then by engaging those same students in sharing their stories to help create change. When students tell us what they need – we believe them.


Strengthening Retention and Graduation Rates

Provides flexible, timely, and direct financial assistance to striving college students, addressing urgent needs and emergencies that can otherwise derail their educational journey.

Great Lakes Consortium

Building a Network for Real Change

Highlighting the existing gaps in the higher education system and the misalignment with the needs of today’s #RealCollege students, we aim to shed light on a pressing issue that necessitates innovative solutions.

#RealCollege Curriculum

Master Class for Higher education professionals

Highly engaging, self-paced learning taught by experienced students and practitioners to share research, best practices and personal experiences with strategies to support today’s #RealCollege students.

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FAST Fund Sites Across the Country 

The FAST Fund has successfully supported students facing basic needs insecurity on 45 campuses across 22 states in the United States. We are proud to collaborate with dedicated site leaders from 28 higher education institutions who administer the FAST Fund program on their campuses.

Over 90% Persistence Rate

During the pandemic, Believe in Students partnered with West Texas colleges to support students facing basic needs challenges. Odessa College, one of our valued partners, awarded $308,750 through our program from October 2020 to May 2022. This support resulted in over 140 graduates and an additional 92-97% of students persisting into the next semester over the project’s two-year span.





It took an enormous amount of stress off of me and my family. We feel much more secure.



I felt very reassured that there was actual help for me. Like a breath of fresh air, I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. I feel very supported. I became really emotional, tears of joy, knowing there is real help for people like me.



I am so grateful for this emergency money. I’ve been out of work for six weeks. This money makes it possible for me to pay my bills and keep my class.



Trouble paying my utility bill and affording groceries for this semester my expenses were more than I expected for school materials. I may need to quit school to work more.




Faculty and Students Together

The Impact and Promise of Engaging Faculty to Support Student Basic Needs 

Treating Emergencies Like Emergencies

Lessons From King County Community Colleges

Latest from the Blog

The #RealCollege Blog is presented by Believe in Students, as a space for students, presidents, educators, and more to lend their voices. This is part of our efforts to uplift student voices and empower them to lead change.

What it Means to Appreciate Teachers

What it Means to Appreciate Teachers

Like many people I know, I spent many hours as a child “playing school” in my basement. Occasionally I had to be the student while my younger sister bossed me around, but mostly, I was the teacher. Looking back, there were a shocking number of unruly imaginary...

Letter from the Exectuive Director : March 2024

Letter from the Exectuive Director : March 2024

Dear Friend: We are in an extraordinarily challenging time for higher education. In 2020, the pandemic helped shed light on the issues we have long known are true: the increase in the price of college for students and the accompanying rise in basic needs insecurity...

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A Special Thanks to Our Partners