Examining Anti-Poverty Programs to Address Student’s Unmet Basic Needs at Texas Hispanic-Serving Institutions over the Course of the COVID-19 Pandemic




Zottarelli, Lisa K.
Sunil, Thankam
Xu, Xiaohe
Chowdhury, Shamatanni

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Many post-secondary institutions have implemented anti-poverty programs to address students’ basic needs insecurities. This study examined the provision of 17 types of basic needs programs at Texas Hispanic-serving institutions over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim to identify changes in the number and types of programs offered as well as factors that may influence the presence of specific types of basic needs programs on campus. While the average number of basic needs programs per institution varied little over time, the specific types of programs that were offered changed. Institution type as a 2-year or 4-year institution was associated with providing on-campus mental health services, on-campus physical health services, and after-school care for students’ children at pre-pandemic and anticipated post-pandemic time points and employing students and free food or meal vouchers at the pre-pandemic time point. The percentage of students receiving Pell Grants was associated with basic needs programs to assist students applying for public services and referrals to off-campus health services pre-pandemic and anticipated post-pandemic. The presence of an on-campus free food pantry was associated with the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants at the anticipated post-pandemic time point only. Over the course of the pandemic, there were changes to the types of basic needs programs offered. Some types of basic needs programs were associated with institutional and/or student characteristics. Given the continued presence of basic needs programs through the course of the pandemic and into the post-pandemic period, the use of these kinds of programs and services to support students, while influenced by external factors such as the pandemic, appears institutionally established as a way to facilitate going to college for students in need.




Trends in Higher Education 3 (1): 34-49 (2024)