LeadMN – College Students Connecting for Change Basic Needs
The pandemic placed a spotlight on students’ struggles with mental health. In response, students have continued their advocacy at the Minnesota legislature with the Basic Needs Reduction Act (State Statute 136F.202) and the Mental Health Awareness Act (State Statute 136F.20) in 2021. During the 2023 legislative session, legislators allocated significant resources to address student basic needs with $2.3 million in funding for the Hunger Free Campus grants, $7 million for funding student emergency grants, and $6.3 million allocated to Minnesota State for supporting students. Now is an opportune time to assess this progress and chart a course forward on how Minnesota higher education institutions can bring structural changes to how colleges support and address food insecurity, mental health, housing, and transportation challenges that hold students back from completing their higher education goals.