Postsecondary education is critical for the economic competitiveness of cities, but students’ unmet basic needs often derail their efforts to attain postsecondary credentials and it can negatively impact their ability to succeed in the workforce. Today, nearly three-in-five postsecondary students lack access to basic needs. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the inequities many postsecondary students experience as they are forced to remain or return to homes that may lack access to the internet, and for some, they may have no home at all.

The National League of Cities has provided direct support to help cities work in partnership with their postsecondary institutions and community partners to remove barriers to basic needs such as food, housing, childcare, mental health services, transportation, or digital access for postsecondary students. NLC is working with local leaders to gain knowledge about their residents’ postsecondary completion challenges, identify specific basic needs to tackle and connect cities with their peers to share and refine approaches that hold promise in overcoming barriers to college completion.

Our Cities

2021 Cohort:

  • Madison, WI
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Savoy, IL
  • Tampa, FL
  • Wichita, KS

2020 Cohort:

  • Akron, OH
  • Arlington, TX
  • Aurora, IL
  • Jacksonville and Orlando, FL
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Tempe and Mesa, AZ
  • Newark, NJ
  • Richmond and Rancho Cordova, CA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Winston-Salem, NC

2019 Cohort:

  • Chula Vista, CA
  • Denver, CO
  • Oakland, CA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Richmond, VA
  • Rochester, NY
  • San Diego, CA

Join Us

The Cities Addressing the Basic Needs of Postsecondary Students initiative is focused on improving equity for low-income students and students of color and to position postsecondary completion as a formidable strategy to increase pathways out of poverty and workforce success. NLC is launching a new Community of Practice cohort for 12 select city teams to help cities work with key partners in their community including postsecondary institutions, employers and other partners to remove barriers to basic needs by:

  • Developing greater awareness regarding the basic needs gaps of your city’s postsecondary students;
  • Developing a vision, goals and an action plan;
  • Engaging key partners to achieve your goals;
  • Using data to understand your local challenges and to inform your strategies;
  • Learning from peer cities tackling similar issues, including from cities in the 2019 and 2020 cohorts;
  • Documenting and sharing best practices and lessons learned;
  • Solving locally defined problems related to students’ unmet basic needs; and;
  • Becoming a champion and voice for municipal leadership to address postsecondary basic needs.

Want to learn more about how your city can apply for the newest cohort?

Watch this recording from our July 7, 2021 Information Call:

Apply today

Only one application per city will be considered and must be received with the full support of the mayor and/or city manager and at least one post secondary institution leader.