NextGen Policy & Compton College Publish Policy Brief on Students’ Basic Needs Innovation


Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Milena Paez,
Heather Parnock,

Students’ Basic Needs policy brief provides model innovations in ensuring students have access to food, housing, transportation, and more during college.

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, NextGen Policy and Compton College published a case study: Every Student Is A Success Story: Basic Needs Innovation at Compton College, which details proven, student-centered basic needs strategies which provide a framework for higher-education institutions across California to follow.

Higher education costs continue to increase every year. Though the state has made investments to increase financial aid to offset the rise in tuition, the ‘unseen’ costs associated with pursuing a higher education continues to serve as a major barrier to success for California students. The real costs of college include: affordable housing, food, reliable transportation, healthcare, access to high speed Internet service, other fees, and having to repay institutional debt. These costs are related to basic necessities that students need to thrive and achieve academically – and meeting their students’ basic needs should be a priority for every college and university.

Compton College has been a statewide leader when it comes to meeting student basic needs. The programs spearheaded by Compton College show that campuses across our state can successfully integrate the following basic needs strategies into their budget processes:

  • Identifying, allocating, and advocating for federal and state funding for the purposes of eliminating barriers to supporting basic needs for students is crucial.
  • Prioritizing students’ basic needs in college campus budget processes.
  • Disaggregating data by race and gender, at a minimum, to monitor and evaluate student support services when engaging in students’ basic needs programs.
  • Including dual enrollment students in student basic needs programs and services.
  • Supporting unapologetic leadership about decisions based on students’ basic needs.

“Ensuring that California students have access to all the resources they need throughout their higher education experience is an economic equity issue and NextGen Policy fights to advance programmatic, budget, and policy solutions that will help achieve this goal.” said Arnold Sowell Jr., Executive Director of NextGen Policy. “Effective student support programs must always consider meeting each student’s basic needs, including: the cost of food, housing, transportation, institutional debt and affordable access to the Internet. And, without question, resources that support student basic needs helps to ensure that all California students thrive academically. NextGen Policy is proud to partner with Compton College to amplify the various innovative ways that California higher education institutions can support students by prioritizing the issue of basic needs in their campus budgeting processes.”

“At Compton College, we are at the forefront of eliminating basic needs barriers. By taking a comprehensive, data-driven approach, while also listening to our students to learn precisely what they need, we can assist in their success.” said Dr. Keith Curry, President/CEO of Compton College. “Students cannot pursue their education successfully if they are worrying about their next meal or wondering where they will sleep each night. This policy brief, created with NextGen Policy, highlights the impact of prioritizing students’ basic needs so they can access resources that lead to success. If something is important, you prioritize it, and then you fund it. And that comes down to building budgets that support student success.”

California has the opportunity to transform access to higher-education by adopting innovative strategies that are student-centered and prioritize equity. For the full Policy Brief and more about our work to expand equitable access to higher education.


The mission of NextGen Policy and NextGen California is to fight for progressive policies that advance environmental, social, racial, gender, and economic equity in California through justice-centered legislative advocacy, grassroots partnerships, and democratic civic engagement.

Compton College is a welcoming and inclusive community where diverse students are supported to pursue and attain student success. Compton College provides solutions to challenges, utilizes the latest techniques for preparing the workforce, and provides clear pathways for completion of programs of study, transition to a university, and securing living-wage employment.