#RealCollege pedagogies of care recognize that students are busy. Life happens.

By Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda, University of Houston

As professors, we assign due dates based on what works for our curriculums and our schedules. Even when students know the due date weeks beforehand, these dates don’t always work for people juggling classes, jobs, and families, along with possible financial or medical difficulties.

I’ve been teaching for over a decade, and I’ve always said, “no late work,” immediately followed by, “but just let me know if you need more time.” …


By Mark Huelsman, Policy Fellow for The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice

The pandemic and economic crisis of the past year have given us countless reasons why we need to invest in a supportive safety net that starts to redress the deep and historical injustice across our economy.

Millions of students, workers, and families experienced an economic catastrophe for which they could not possibly have prepared. People forced into unimaginable medical and financial hardships, disproportionately affecting the almost almost 30 million non-elderly Americans. Millions of people, disproportionately people of color, are still reporting an inability to afford food and to pay their rent or mortgage, furthering the inequities that that existed long…


By Michelle Miller-Adams, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Grand Valley State University

President Joe Biden took office committed to a range of progressive policies affecting college students. These policies include a plan for tuition-free community college for all; free tuition at public four-year colleges and universities for families earning less than $125,000 a year; tuition coverage for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs); a doubling of Pell grants; and a commitment to invest in evidence-based strategies to boost degree and credential attainment.

Which of these promises will become policy — and when — depends mightily on decisions about where to invest political capital in light of narrow…


“Education must not simply teach work, it must teach life,” W.E.B. Du Bois.

By Frederick Shegog, undergraduate student, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, Delaware County Community College has been the village that turned this man into a graduate.

I entered the institution after years of battling mental health and substance use disorder. I am thankful to say that I am a person in recovery who will celebrate five years of sobriety in June. Delaware County Community College embraced my story, and education became the passport to a new life…


For our first post in the #RealCollege Best Reads series, we are featuring the greatest hits of the #RealCollege Movement to date!

These five pieces feature our #RealCollege research, reports, staff members, and affiliates. Our research on students at colleges and universities across the nation who are facing basic needs insecurities is published on these notable platforms. Read and spread our #RealCollege message — that students are humans first.

Hungry, Homeless and in College

In 2015, our president & founder, Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab) co-authored a great piece in centered on students’ basic needs in The New York Times. …


Chad Dull, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Minnesota State College Southeast

Do you remember the film Avatar? There is a great scene with an emotional payoff when the main characters say, “I see you” to one another. “I see you” is a substitute for “I love you,” but it is also more. It is acknowledgment of another’s existence and their importance. A little internet research indicates Avatar borrowed this expression from tribes in South Africa. It is loosely related to the idea of Ubuntu, which I only became aware of a dozen years ago when it was made popular by…


Luma Haddad, Los Angeles Valley College Family Resource Center

Imagine rationing your children’s food at every meal, terrified it will not last through the week. Or, skipping your own meals, just to make sure your kids don’t go without. Imagine dreading the holidays instead of looking forward to them because you have no idea how you could manage putting together a special holiday meal. Or, having to buy dollar meals from McDonalds for your kids knowing it’s a terrible choice, but that keeping your children hungry is not a choice.

Now, imagine all of this, and trying to be a college student at the same time.

You started college…


A Professor’s Perspective on #RealCollege

Dr. Rebecca Weaver, Georgia State University, Perimeter College

I would wait until the evening, when it was pleasantly cool and dark enough, to slip unnoticed into the other dorms and make my way to recycling stations on each floor. I’d gather the glass bottles in a big garbage bag pilfered from my own dorm’s kitchen, and when I got all I could carry, I would start toward the grocery store a block off campus, the bag bumping along behind me, clink-clink-clinkety-clink. The machine outside the grocery store took the bottles, one by one, and then spit out a receipt I’d redeem inside for cash, often around three to…


Haley Turner, Communications Assistant for The Hope Center for College, Community & Justice

In beginning of my first semester freshman year of college, one of my first priorities was to find a job.

I was relieved to land a job as a lifeguard at our on-campus swimming facility. Through a combination of that position, waitressing and a great internship, I was able to afford four years of undergraduate study. Being able to work paying jobs through college provided me with the finances that I needed for extra food and activities to enjoy my friends on the weekends. However, not all…


Dr. Keith Curry is President/CEO of Compton College and CEO of Compton Community College District

Every morning, I listen to the song “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi. Throughout my workday, I continue to recite the following lyrics from this song:

“I’m on the pursuit of happiness, and I know
Everything that shine ain’t always gonna be gold
Hey, I’ll be fine once I get it
I’ll be good”

Since I was an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz (Oakes College, just saying), I have been on a pursuit of happiness in support of students’ success, particularly for students who have been historically underserved because of systemic racism in this country. My…

#RealCollege Blog

Hope is an action research center focused on supporting #RealCollege. Students, presidents, educators, and more will lend their voices here.

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