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Bridging the Gap of Basic Needs Services on California Campuses

January 30, 2024
Contact: Emma Bittner
(972) 510-3395 |

Bridging the Gap of Basic Needs Services on California Campuses

(Los Angeles, CA) –  Today, Young Invincibles released Meeting Students’ Needs: Basic Needs at California’s Public 4-Year Colleges, a report that dives into accessibility and basic needs efforts at California’s four-year public colleges, as a result of funding from the state to address basic needs.

In 2023, Young Invincibles surveyed California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) students on their awareness of basic needs efforts in their respective campuses, access and barriers to receiving basic needs services, and the rate at which students utilized basic needs services. The results found that while students are aware of these services, there is a gap in the amount of students who actually utilize them. Bridging the gap between awareness and utilization is one that must be addressed with urgency.

Beyond understanding the implementation and campus impact, the brief identifies topline recommendations, such as alignment across California’s higher education system, to support the CSU and UC in their efforts to continue to address the high levels of basic needs insecurity across the state. 

 In response, Sarah Bouabibsa, Report Author and West Advocacy Manager at Young Invincibles said:

“Access to basic needs on campus is the bare minimum. Since gaining State funding in 2019, California universities have significantly expanded access on campus; however, students are not utilizing these resources.. Ensuring that all public four-year campuses have a basic needs center and dedicated basic needs staff is the foundation for robust and accessible resources.

As seen in our report, California schools have started making progress but have just scraped the surface of what can be provided. Outlined in our recommendations, necessary modifications need to be made to best benefit students. 

Having mental health care resources, dependable food access and the support of campus staff sets students up for success mentally and physically. Their future starts now. We must make sure they are equipped with the support they need.”

In response, Fiza Sheikh, student at University of California, Los Angeles said: 

​”Expanding access to the Basic Needs Center, especially at schools like UCLA, is personally significant because, like many students, I’ve experienced the challenges of navigating the complexities of campus life. While essential services exist, the lack of effective promotion limits their reach, especially for students facing genuine need. It’s disheartening to see resources unevenly distributed on a campus where a substantial portion of the student body comes from affluent backgrounds. Personally, I’ve struggled to navigate the healthcare benefits available, lacking awareness of the comprehensive support under my plan. By advocating for an expanded Basic Needs Center, we can ensure that every student, including those like me without a stable income, is aware of and can easily access the vital resources essential for our well-being and academic success.”


Young Invincibles (YI) is a national advocacy and policy nonprofit organization focused on amplifying the voice of young people in the political process at the local, state, and federal levels. YI focuses on issues impacting young adults ages 18 to 34 in higher education, health care, economic security, and civic engagement. Our offices include Washington, D.C., California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, and Texas. For more information, please contact Emma Bittner at (972) 510-3395 or