A group of legislators introduced legislation on Thursday that could help students meet their most basic needs — such as food, housing, child care and transportation — while pursuing an education.
Named the BASIC act, the bill proposes an investment of $1 billion in grants that would help education institutions fulfill their students’ “most fundamental needs.” The bill would also direct the federal government to streamline data sharing to help qualifying students, particularly those who are Pell Grant recipients and/or attendees of community colleges and minority-serving institutions, receive aid.
“A college degree is a valuable asset for the 21st Century workforce, but it cannot come at the expense of basic needs,” said Rep. Norma J. Torres, D-Calif., who introduced the bill alongside U.S. Senators Alex Padilla D-Calif. and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. “A student preoccupied by hunger is a student distracted from learning. The BASIC Act empowers schools to meet the needs of their students, coordinates assistance across federal agency lines, and provides resources so no student is forced to choose between college credits and food or rent.”
U.S Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. and Ed Markey, D-Mass. are cosponsors of the bill.