Faculty and Staff Resources

Basic Needs: Food, Housing, Financial, and Mental Wellbeing

Basic needs insecurity is a growing struggle that impacts students’ academic and mental and physical wellbeing. When students have inconsistent access to nutritious food, housing, financial instability and mental health instability, a student's retention and progress to graduation can be negatively impacted. 

Students at Risk 

At Cal Poly, 39% of students are food insecure, meaning they struggle to acquire enough affordable, nutritious foods. Factors like increasing cost of higher education, lack of awareness of available support, and stigma and shame have increased the risk of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students being basic needs insecure. However, a certain population of students is disproportionately impacted - students that are already underserved including first generation, LGBTQIA+, low income students, and students of color.  

The Impact on Students 

Basic needs insecurity is common among college students and the negative impacts are real: 

  • Increases difficulty in concentrating and studying, lowers retention, and decreases graduation rate. 

  • Generates and/or elevates depression, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and burnout. 

  • Lowers morale and motivation, decreases productivity, increase absenteeism, and decreases social opportunities.  

Students that are hungry, burned-out, depressed, preoccupied with issues like money, housing or food are less likely to succeed academically, socially, and personally. 

Basic Needs Syllabi Text

Version 1

If you don’t have stable housing and/or are skipping meals, concerned about spending money on food and/or having difficulties accessing healthy food options, learn about the many resources available to support you through Cal Poly's Basic Needs initiative at basicneeds.calpoly.edu. We can provide you with immediate food, housing and emergency funding support and access to additional resources.  

Version 2

If you are facing challenges securing food, housing or other basic needs, you are not alone and Cal Poly can help. We invite you to learn about the many resources available to support you through Cal Poly's Basic Needs Initiative at basicneeds.calpoly.edu.

Additional text you may include

  • Many students face these challenges in college, it is okay to seek support. 
  • If you are comfortable, please talk to me about your experience.

If you have a student who...

  • Is experiencing an emergency please call 911 or the Cal Poly University Police at 805-756-2281. 

  • Is in distress (tearful, disruptive, not engaging) please call counseling at 805-756-2511. 

  • Needs immediate food and access to basic resources refer them to the Food Pantry - open to all students no questions asked. The Food Pantry is located within Health & Wellbeing and can be reached at 805-756-7818, Monday through Friday. Emergency financial support can be directed to the Dean of Students at 805-756-6749. Other Basic Needs support can be directed to Cal Poly's Basic Needs Coordinator by calling 805-756-1045. 

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