Squeezed on All Sides: Economic Pressures Facing Berkeley Students

Squeezed on All Sides: Economic Pressures Facing Berkeley Students

Squeezed on All Sides: Economic Pressures Facing Berkeley Students | Teaching in Troubled Times

What we know about any basic needs insecurity, whether its food or housing insecurity, [is that it] has long-term impacts on students' mental health, as well as their academic performance.
Kiyoko Thomas
We understand that this is, therefore, not a problem solely of economic circumstances, right, but of the very multitudinal impact that economic circumstances simply help to illuminate.
Jovan Scott-Lewis

Event Description:

According to a July 2017 nation-wide report, 60 percent or more of the total cost of attending a college or university comes from expenses other than tuition, and the cost of living for college students has increased by more than 80 percent over the past 40 years. In a high-cost area such as Berkeley, affordability is especially acute and impacts many aspects of students' lives beyond the financial: housing and food insecurity, commute time, mental and emotional health, the ability to pay for course materials, working for money vs. doing research or taking on an internship, time for degree completion, and more. How do we address issues of equity and inclusion in light of these challenges—both in our classrooms and on campus in general? Hear from faculty and staff who are working to help address and alleviate these issues. Learn about campus resources, and join in a discussion about what we, as individuals and as a campus, can and should do.


Kristina Hill, College of Environmental Design

Jovan Scott-Lewis, Geography and African American Studies

Rachael Samberg, Library Scholarly Communications

Michelle "Kiyoko" Thomas, Basic Needs Security Committee

Key Takeaways

Na'ilah Nasir

Basic Needs Services

Basic Needs Services (BNS) is a service for students to work with the Basic Needs Manager, Kiyoko Thomas, on the complex needs of students. The Basic Needs Center (BNC) is located on the lower level of the MLK Student Union.  This area of the Student Union is also a one-stop location for students to navigate their needs with other university services and meet with community programs and officials. Learn more.

Na'ilah Nasir

Basic Needs Financial Aid Services

Basic Needs Services has partnered with the Financial Aid Office so that financial aid counselors can help students identify basic needs services. Drop-in hours for students to meet with a Basic Needs Financial Aid Counselor are on Tuesdays from 11am-2pm at the Basic Needs Center, Lower level of MLK Student Union (BNorth), Suite 72.

Cal Fresh @ Berkeley Logo


CalFresh, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or 'SNAP,' is a federally funded financial assistance program that provides financially eligible students financial assistance for food every month.  CalFresh can provide eligible students with the ability to buy and eat nutritious and healthy foods like fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, whole grains and much, much more. Learn More.

UC Berkeley Food Pantry Logo

Food Pantry

With rising costs and living expenses, it has become increasingly difficult for students to juggle the costs of living with the costs of obtaining a university degree. The UC Berkeley Food Pantry was established as part of the campus-wide food security efforts and provides two key services: (1) The Food Assistance Program, which gives real dollars to students who have maximized their financial aid packages and need additional food support; and (2) emergency relief food supply for all students and staff. Learn more

Na'ilah Nasir

Nutritional Science and Toxicology 20: Personal Food Security and Wellness

Beginning Fall 2019, the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology will offer 'NUSTCX 20,' a class on personal food security. This course teaches students ways to meal prep affordable and healthy foods and take them home. Learn more.