This semester, some professors have added a section to their syllabi called “Basic Needs Security.” This is a thoughtful addition, considering Temple’s socioeconomic makeup.
The section tells students who are facing food or housing insecurity that they should immediately contact the Dean of Students Office and tell their professors about their situation.
Many students at Temple receive Pell Grants — federal allotments of money given to students who live in households with incomes under $40,000. About 28 percent of the student body received an average of $4,520 from the federal program in 2015-16.
If students are receiving Pell Grants, it is very likely they also struggle to meet their basic needs, like having somewhere to sleep or accessing nutritious food. And these students should know their professors and the Dean of Students Office are there to help them succeed despite their financial hardships.
College is expensive enough on its own: Pennsylvania had the third-highest in-state tuition behind Vermont and New Hampshire in 2016-17. When you add in the cost of books and living, students who are independent or whose families earn below the poverty line can easily be struggling to make ends meet.
If adding a small section to the syllabi can make students feel a little less alone in their struggles, then there’s no reason professors shouldn’t adopt this practice.
A couple hundred professors across the country have already committed to adding a “Basic Needs Security” section, and all of Temple’s professors should do the same.