Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

New CPE report focuses on strategies to assist Kentucky’s students in meeting basic needs

July 24, 2023

Student sitting on steps
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The Kentucky Student Success Collaborative (KYSSC), an initiative of the Council on Postsecondary Education, today released the report, “Kentucky’s Strategy and Recommendations for Addressing Student Basic Needs.” With funding support from Lumina Foundation, the report outlines eight recommendations to assist college students with basic needs insecurity, which means a lack of affordable food, housing and other necessities.

“About one in three Kentucky students are classified as low-income, and we’re seeing a growing number of these students struggling with non-academic barriers to success, like hunger or even homelessness,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “This groundbreaking analysis is a great first step in not only remedying these issues at the postsecondary level, but also as a state.”

The report is the culmination of a year-long project to increase basic needs supports for currently enrolled students, as well as connecting more public assistance recipients to postsecondary programs. In the discovery phase, researchers assessed the availability and effectiveness of campus-based, state and local resources in meeting students’ needs. In the strategy development phase, a diverse group of stakeholders, The Student Basic Needs Action Network (SBNAN), analyzed these findings and developed the recommendations for further action.

Lilly Massa-McKinley, KYSSC executive director, credits the project’s multi-level approach to its success. “The SBNAN consisted of faculty members, representatives from state agencies, Workforce Investment Boards, non-profits, students and other experts working on the ground to help Kentucky’s most vulnerable populations. Enhanced collaboration among these entities will be essential in supporting at-risk individuals in their pursuit of life-changing postsecondary education credentials.”

The report’s recommendations include such actions as implementing benefits eligibility screening for students; providing training for postsecondary faculty and staff to make referrals to assistance programs; and increasing access to affordable childcare for low-income adults returning to college. The report is available on CPE’s website at

Last Updated: 7/24/2023