This resource guide explains five federal grant opportunities that can fund institutions’ basic needs efforts. Possible efforts include: providing students with food, housing, mental health, and child care, and connecting students with public and tax benefits that can help meet their non-tuition expenses. These grant programs can help colleges begin new basic needs work or increase the scale and sustainability of their existing resources. Congress typically revisits these programs each year, and funding levels can change.
Each section below provides an overview of the program, eligibility, funding levels, and other resources for applying for funding. Institutions are encouraged to review each program and explore funding that will best serve the needs of their students’. We hope to see more HIP institutions take advantage of these funding opportunities. If you have any questions relating to a program or need further information, please feel free to reach out to [click-for-email].
The Basic Needs for Postsecondary Students Program (or Basic Needs Grants), administered by the U.S. Department of Education, is the only federal program to comprehensively address students’ basic needs in higher education. Institutions can use these grants to invest in programs that address: food, housing, transportation, health care, child care, and other non-tuition expenses for students. The grant requires a systematic approach to meeting basic needs, such as strengthening collaboration with federal, state, or local government agencies or community-based organizations.1 For example, the grant can support outreach, referral, and casework to help students enroll in public benefits programs or secure tax benefits. Due to limited funding, the grants are currently restricted to community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).
The program has only had three funding cycles. In fiscal year (FY) 2023, the program is funded at $10 million. In FY 2023, 10 institutions were chosen from the list of unfunded applications from the FY 2022 competition.2 In FY 2022, a total of $7.5 million was awarded to 14 institutions out of the 113 institutions that applied.3 The last application cycle occurred from August to October 2022. Check out the FY 2022 Basic Needs Grant Webinar by The Hope Center and the Association of Community College Trustees, as well as The Hope Center’s Basic Needs Grant Intervention Examples.
U.S. Department of Education
Community colleges, HBCUs, TCUs, and other MSIs are eligible to apply.
The maximum award institutions could receive in the last open competition was $950,000. The average estimated award in FY 2022 was $850,000.
Funding covers up to three years.
To be determined for 2023 or 2024.
The last application period (for FY 2022 and FY 2023) closed on October 2, 2022.
The Federal Register will issue a notice calling for applications once funding is made available again for FY 2024.
The Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) program can help support or establish campus-based child care programs that serve parenting students with low incomes.4 It is the only federal program supporting the child care needs of parenting students. Institutions can use the funding for child care services and wraparound supports, which can be provided either by campus-based programming or a community partnership. CCAMPIS helps parenting students with low incomes afford child care through subsidized care options. The CCAMPIS program is currently funded at $75 million for FY 2023, a $10 million increase from FY 2022. Priority is given to institutions that leverage significant local or institutional resources to support the provision of child care and those that utilize a fee structure that allows funding to support a high number of parenting students with low incomes.
The FY 2022 cycle awarded 301 grants to institutions with an award average of $273,000 per year for a period of four years.5 Of those 301 grants, about 40% of awards went to community colleges. A high percentage of awards also went to Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The last application cycle occurred from May to July 2022. Applications for FY 2023 were open from May 31st - July 31st, 2023. The application page and notice are included below. Check out ACCT’s report on technical and community colleges’ experience with the CCAMPIS program.
U.S. Department of Education
Institutions of higher education that awarded a total amount of $250,000 or more in Federal Pell Grant funds.6
Grant awards have been capped at $500,000 for a 12-month budget period or the amount equivalent to the product of $100 multiplied by the institution's total number of Pell Grant recipients in FY 2022, whichever amount is greater.7
The awards cover four years of funding.
To be determined for 2024.
The Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Campus Suicide Prevention Grant within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is one of the only federal programs supporting the mental and behavioral health needs of college students. The GLS program can help fund evidence-based mental health initiatives on campus—particularly for at-risk populations—and enhance campus infrastructure to reduce suicide and suicide attempts.8 Institutions must currently provide non-federal matching funds for each dollar provided by the grant.9 In FY 2023, the program is funded at $8.48 million, a $2 million increase from FY 2022.10
In FY 2022, the program awarded grants to 22 institutions, including nine public four-year and 13 private four-year institutions, for a total of $2.2 million.11 Although the most recent fiscal year did not provide any awards to community colleges, the previous fiscal year awarded two. Of those who received funding, two recipients made a connection between mental health and student basic needs by identifying students experiencing food/housing insecurity as an at-risk population and using funding to help connect students to basic needs services.12 The last application cycle occurred from February to April 2022. More grant recipients were announced in mid-2023. For a detailed overview of the application process, see this webinar from SAMHSA.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA)
All private and public non-profit institutions are eligible to apply and can submit applications through the grants website. Here is an example of the FY 2022 grant opportunity page.
Institutions could receive up to $102,000 per year per award. The average award size in the last cycle was around $101,273.
The awards cover up to three years of funding.
To be determined for 2023 or 2024.
The Postsecondary Student Success Program, launched in FY 2022, supports evidence-based programs that promote college retention and completion.14 Institutions must illustrate how their project is supported by “promising evidence” from experimental studies or those aligned with standards of the What Works Clearinghouse. They must then show how that project will improve student outcomes, including retention, transfer, credit accumulation and completion rates.15 Given that meeting students’ non-tuition costs helps them complete a college degree or credential, the Postsecondary Student Success Program could be a way for institutions to fund their basic needs and other student success work. While the evidence of the relationship between basic needs interventions and academic performance is still growing, comprehensive approaches to student success—including remedial reforms that provide support for child care, transportation, and textbooks—have a strong evidence base.16
In FY 2023, the program received a major funding increase from Congress to a total of $45 million—up from just $5 million the year prior—reflecting bipartisan interest in evidence-based strategies to improve student success. In FY 2022, $4.5 million was awarded to five institutions, including three HSIs, one Predominately Black Institution (PBI), and one HBCU—three of which also identified as community or technical colleges.17 The previous application cycle occurred from August to October 2022. Check out the Department of Education’s FY 2022 Pre-Application & Technical Assistance Webinar slides for additional program guidance.
U.S. Department of Education
Institutions that are HBCUs, TCUs, or other MSIs, or educate a large portion of students with low incomes.
Institutions can apply through the Grants.gov.
Awards for FY 2022 recipients ranged from $700,000-$1,000,000. The estimated average award size was $900,000.
For the FY 2023 cycle, awards depend on the scale of the program proposed and are as follows:
Estimated Range of Awards:
Estimated Average Size of Awards:
Funding can cover up to 24 months.
Applications for FY 2023 are due September 25th, 2023.
The FY 2022 cycle closed October 11, 2022.
Congressional earmarks go by many names—including “Congressionally Directed Spending” in the U.S. Senate, and “Community Project Funding” in the U.S. House of Representatives—but they are one and the same. These are projects and initiatives that individual Members of Congress select to drive federal funding to their districts or states. Federal agencies do not administer earmarks. But they are another possible way for institutions to request funding for projects to address student basic needs. Earmarks were recently revived after being stopped for over a decade. Institutions can submit a request for funding directly through their Members of Congress for projects that improve postsecondary education, including helping students meet their basic needs.
In early 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives majority decided they would not consider requests for the Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education and related agencies (LHHS-ED) bill, leaving open the possibility that no education-specific earkmarks may be made for FY 2024. The Senate still accepted LHHS-ED requests, but it is not yet known what Congress will do for the FY 2024 appropriations process. Additionally, funding has also been secured for colleges through other agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior, which may present options even if LHHS-ED earmarks are no longer an option. If Congress does reach a bipartisan deal to fund the federal government budget—resorting to flat funding known as a continuing resolution—earmarks will generally not be funded.
Institutions are encouraged to reach out to their Members of Congress (Representatives and Senators) to be considered for funding within the new fiscal year. Further information can be found in the FY 2024 Appropriations Requests and Congressionally Directed Spending website.
In the FY 2023 government funding bill, earmarks received a total of $430 million within the LHHS-ED account, a 72% increase from the FY 2022 bill.18 A handful of institutions received funding to support basic needs on their campus, including a basic needs pilot program, a food security program, and a low-cost student housing project.19 Institutions also targeted specific student populations like students transitioning out of foster care and DACA recipients. Check out ACCT’s guide on how community colleges can benefit from earmarks.
All FY 2023 requests can be found here. The bottom of the webpage includes websites for each Senator’s office and FY 2023 requests.
Generally, all public and private non-profit institutions of higher education. For-profit institutions are not typically eligible.
Contacting local U.S. Representative that represents the applicable college campus, or either U.S. Senator, and submit the funding request according to such office(s) instructions.
Typically a few months following the last major funding bill passed by Congress. This marks the start of a new Congressional appropriations cycle. For example, after the 2023 government funding omnibus was passed in December 2022, office deadlines for the following fiscal year were roughly three to four months later (March and April 2023).
1 Federal Register. (2022). Applications for New Awards; Basic Needs for Postsecondary Students Program.
2 U.S. Department of Education. (2022). Basic Needs for Postsecondary Students Program – Awards: FY 2023.
3 U.S. Department of Education. (2023). Basic Needs for Postsecondary Students Program – Awards: FY 2022.
4 To be considered a parenting student with a low income, undergraduate students must be Pell Grant eligible. Graduate, professional students or temporary VISA students should be considered Pell Grant “eligible,” even if they don’t receive it due to their program or status.
5 Huelsman, M. and Rios, L. (2023). Congress Needs to Address the Child Care Crisis for Parenting Students. Here’s How. The Hope Center at Temple University.
6 U.S. Department of Education. (2022). Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program.
7 Federal Register. (2023). Applications for New Awards; Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program.
8 A list of required activities institutions must implement are included on page 8 of the GLS Campus Suicide Prevention Grant Program: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) No. SM-22-004.
9 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). GLS Campus Suicide Prevention Grant Program: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) No. SM-22-004.
10 The Hope Center at Temple University. (2022, December). Statement on the Fiscal Year 2023 Government Funding Omnibus.
12 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2022). Grants Dashboard.
13 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022). GLS Campus Suicide Prevention Grant Program: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) No. SM-22-004.
14 U.S. Department of Education. (2022, August). During ‘Raise the B.A.R.’ Summit, Education Department Announces College Completion Fund Competition to Support Postsecondary Student Success.
15 Federal Register. (2022). Applications for New Awards; Postsecondary Success Program.
16 McKibben, Bryce & Qarni, Atif. (2022, June). Helping Students Meet Basic Needs to Support Their Success
17 U.S. Department of Education. (2023, January). Department Awards Grants to Improve Opportunities and Outcomes for Nation's Postsecondary Students.
18 The Hope Center at Temple University. (2022, December). Statement on the Fiscal Year 2023 Government Funding Omnibus.
19 United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. (2022). Departments Of Labor, Health And Human Services, And Education, And Related Agencies— Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending.