HOPE Survey 2018 Results

Prepared by The Hope Center at Temple University April 2019

Chris Tran serves as the resources navigator at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC). Chris works with DCTC students to help make sure their basics needs, including housing, health and food, are met while they are going to school. His job involves coordinating with public and private agencies to assist students whose circumstances might impede their academic success.

“In the fall of 2018, The HOPE Center at Temple University conducted its annual assessment of basic needs among students at one hundred and twenty-three postsecondary institutions (two-year and four-year) across the nation,” Chris said. “Dakota County Technical College was one of the participating institutions.”

(See overview below for DCTC survey participation and overall basic needs insecurity rates.)

Chris reported: “For DCTC students who completed the survey, one of two had experienced at least one form of basic needs¹ insecurity in the past year while only 16 percent of food insecure students had utilized Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and 6 percent of homeless students had taken advantage of housing benefits.

“At the national level, the #Real College Survey Report summarized that basic needs insecurity is higher at two-year institutions and there is variation across subgroups, female students experienced higher level of basic needs insecurity compared to male students while marginalized students including African American, LGBTQ, students independent of parents/guardians, military veterans, students who are former foster youth, and ex-convicts are at greater risk of basic needs insecurity.”

Chris noted that, according to El Zein et al. (2017), food and housing insecurity undermine academic success while housing insecurity and homelessness affect completion rates, persistence, and credit attainment. In addition, Bruening et al. (2018) stated that basic needs insecurity is associated with higher perceived stress, symptoms of depression, and overall poor physical health.

“The challenges that basic needs presented here require a systemic response and fortunately, Dakota County Technical College has been very proactive on the basic needs issue,” Chris said. “As a result of community partnership, DCTC has in place the Lunch Box started in 2016 and the Mobile Pantry started in 2012 programs to address food insecurity while continuing its effort to engage community agencies to develop and expand emergency aid and crisis response programs.

“In addition to the aforementioned resources navigator to serve as a point of contact for student wellness and basic needs, the CARE team on campus will implement programmatic work to instill a ‘culture of caring’ across campus.”

¹ The HOPE Center was founded in 2013 with a gift from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, as the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. The 2018 HOPE Survey used the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 18-item set of questions.


Report prepared by the HOPE Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University April 2019


  • Invitations to complete the questionnaire were sent by email to approximately 2,500 students from Dakota County Technical College and 464 students participated. Thus, the estimated response rate is 18.7%.
  • Overall Basic Needs Insecurity Rates:
    • 32% of respondents were food insecure in the prior 30 days
    • 45% of respondents were housing insecure in the previous year
    • 16% of respondents were homeless in the previous year
  • 55% of students at Dakota County Technical College experienced at least one of these forms of basic needs insecurity in the past year.
  • There is substantial variation in basic needs insecurity across subgroups.
  • 16% of food insecure students utilize SNAP benefits and 6% of homeless students utilize housing benefits.

For more information on the research methodology and survey participants, please refer to the appendices of the National 2018 #RealCollege Survey School Report.


Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food, or the ability to acquire such food in a socially acceptable manner. The most extreme form is often accompanied with physiological sensations of hunger. We assessed food security among students using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 18-item set of questions.

During the 30 days preceding the survey, approximately 32% of survey respondents at Dakota County Technical College experienced low or very low levels of food security (Figure 1).
Moreover, 37% of survey respondents at Dakota County Technical College worry about running out of food before having money to buy more and 36% cannot afford to eat balanced meals.


For more perspective, below is the Wisconsin Hope Lab Survey from fall 2016…

Wisconsin Hope Lab

School Name: Dakota County Technical College MN
Report from Fall 2016 Survey of Student Basic Needs

In fall 2016 the Wisconsin HOPE Lab at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), with support from the Kresge Foundation, conducted a large-scale survey to better understand food and housing insecurity among community college students.

The effort built on a similar survey of ten community colleges during the 2014–2015 academic year. In total, seventy institutions from twenty-four states participated in the 2016 survey.

This report presents a profile of survey participants at your college. In addition, the report compares institution-level results with aggregated results from the other colleges in your institution’s region of the country (not including your own) and from the national survey sample.

National sample results are similar to those found in the associated survey report Hungry and Homeless in College: Results from a National Study of Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education.


More about Chris Tran…

Chris Tran

Chris Tran’s educational background includes bachelor and master’s degrees in the studies of Sociology, Ethnic and Multicultural Studies, and Human Services Planning and Administration from Minnesota State Mankato.

His direct work experience in human services and diversity started in with Southern Minnesota Initiatives Foundation (SMIF), a nonprofit that focuses on economic development and community vitality for 20 southern counties. As a program coordinator, his role was to chair a steering committee and coordinate community forums on diversity dialogue and affordable and transitional housing.

Read more…
Learn more about the HOPE Survey 2018 results by contacting:

Chris Tran
Resources Navigator