Basic Needs Research: The Center for Equitable Higher Education (CEHE)


The Center for Equitable Higher Education (CEHE) is a trusted source of actionable research and catalyst of higher education systems that meet student basic needs and produce equitable outcomes.


CEHE ensures that California higher education systems prioritize student basic needs and implement equitable and effective programs so that students thrive and graduate. CEHE works to:

  • Amplify the voices of students and practitioners as the experts of their experience;
  • Build evidence on student basic needs in partnership with students, faculty, practitioners and other leaders in the field; and
  • Support practitioners, policy makers and other leaders as they work to meet student basic needs.

Major Projects

The Rise Framework Diagram

Tremendous progress has been made in tackling the college student basic needs crisis. Significant investments have been made by State legislatures and by higher education institutions across the country and it has made a difference in the lives of so many students. Across the country basic needs challenges are now understood to be a critical factor in student success. However, further progress in this movement hinges upon an evolution in dominant paradigms which view student financial, housing and food insecurity as individual student problems. It is time for a more holistic framing of the causes and solutions for student financial struggles, food and housing insecurity, and homelessness. 

CEHE is pleased to share with you The RISE Framework: A Socio-Ecological Model for College Student Basic Needs that aims to describe the full complexity of student basic needs and situate them in their social, political, and economic context.

Over the next year CEHE will bring together stakeholders from across the movement to give input and refine the RISE Framework. We invite you to join us in building the concepts in the Framework so that it truly captures the multi-layered determinants of student basic needs challenges and the strategies that will ensure all students thrive. 

The RISE Framework - PDF

The CSU and CCCs are breaking new ground with the development of College Focused Rapid Rehousing to address student homelessness as a long-term commitment to address equity gaps for marginalized groups and increase graduation rates. In support of this effort, the State of California granted $9 million and $6.4 million respectively to the CCC and CSU systems to pilot a Rapid ReHousing model to provide sustainable solutions for student homelessness.

While these investments provide housing and support services to students, they do not fund critically needed research and evaluation that can be used to better understand development, implementation, and outcomes of the model which can be leveraged for an ongoing programmatic commitment. CEHE has been funded $1,650,000 for the Evaluation of Innovative College Focused Rapid ReHousing Programs, which is an opportunity to go beyond mandated program monitoring and conduct a systemwide evaluation of 8 CSU RRH programs (CSU Chico, CSU Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Sacramento, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, CSU San Jose) and 2 California Community College programs (Cerritos College and Long Beach City College) to understand the difference these programs make in the lives of students and its implications as a model for other higher education ecosystems across the Country. As Co-PIs, Dr. Rashida Crutchfield and Jessica Wolin of San Francisco State University work collaboratively with CSU faculty and staff and community partners to coordinate evaluative efforts.

College Focused Rapid Rehousing Webinar

CFRR Evaluation Interim Report

Funded by:

  • The Kresge Foundation
  • Walter S Johnson Foundation
  • The California Wellness Foundation
  • Kaiser Permanente National Community Health
  • Angell Foundation
  • Michelson 20MM Foundation

The goal of this two-year study, funded by the ECMC Foundation, is to identify and test promising practices for university campus programming and supports that help meet the basic needs, food, housing, and financial insecurity, of students and evaluate their efficacy. Based on the results of this evaluation, a toolkit of tested evidence-based practices will be developed to scale programs to other campuses.