top of page

Welcome to the   
Student Basic Needs Coalition 


Student Basic Needs Coalition (SBNC) is a national non-profit organization with a primary mission to combat the student basic needs crisis by facilitating solutions for food, housing, and financial insecurities among college students. Our approach is three-pronged, focusing on SNAP Enrollment, Campus Education, and Advocacy, all aimed at alleviating the immediate needs of students while working towards long-term systemic changes. By empowering student leaders to facilitate access to resources, raising awareness for basic needs insecurity, and advocating for long-term solutions, SBNC aims to create a system of support that enables college students to focus on their academic pursuits without the distress of basic needs insecurity.


The Student Basic Needs Coalition started as a student organization at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2019. The group originally formed to advocate for solutions to student food insecurity, but quickly found that students on their campus and campuses across the country were facing barriers to food, housing, health, and safety that prevented them from finishing their degrees. In 2020, SBNC at UTK joined forces with a similar group at NC State to launch the Student Basic Needs Coalition as a national nonprofit. Staying true to our roots, we are focused on supporting students at public 4-year and community colleges.


With an army of local volunteers and through strategic partnerships with other national organizations, SBNC has increased advocacy efforts and built a presence across 25 states, connecting students to $785,000 in food assistance and impacting over 90,000 students with education and advocacy initiatives. In the past 6 months, we have aligned with individuals and organizations who share our vision and have helped us raise over $200,000. These organizations include Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, the Michelson 20 Million Minds Foundation, and the Ichigo Foundation.



We envision a world where every student has their basic needs met during their college tenure.



Our mission is to empower student leaders across the nation to advocate for, and implement, solutions to the basic needs crisis on campuses, fostering a financially inclusive and equitable higher education landscape.




Creating a community where every student feels seen, heard, and supported, transcending socio-economic barriers.



Promoting long-term, sustainable solutions that address the root causes of basic needs insecurities among students.



Building bridges between students, institutions, and policymakers to foster a collective effort towards education equity.



Equipping students with the knowledge, tools, and platforms to enact change in their educational environments.



Continually evolving our approaches, programs, and advocacy to stay responsive to the changing needs of the student body.


Cultivating a network of support, mentorship, and collaboration among students, educators, and institutions.



Upholding transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct in all our engagements and operations.



Championing the voices and needs of students in the dialogues and decisions that shape the higher education framework.


SEAP Full - Teal.png




mRelief’s mission is to transform access to social services for the inherent dignity of all. Their end-to-end SNAP enrollment process is rooted in three tools: (1)A SNAP eligibility screener that ensures that anyone in all 53 states and participating territories can find out whether they are likely eligible for SNAP in three-minutes or less, even using text-messaging. (2) A simplified SNAP application, available in 12 states and counting, that reduces the number of questions by half. (3) A case management platform, called Johnnie after the visionary welfare rights activist Johnnie Tillmon, helps local organizations, such as food banks, to provide one-on-one SNAP enrollment support for anyone who prefers human assistance. Since their founding in 2014, they’ve focused specifically on SNAP, and have already unlocked $1.4 billion in SNAP benefits for more than 4 million individuals. 

Screen Shot 2021-03-05 at 9.55.42 AM.png

Rise Now

Rise Justice Labs, a program of Rise Now, helps organizations learn how to pass their own laws. This 12 week accelerator program provides training on writing draft legislation, meeting with legislators, creating a campaign plan, and mobilizing communities.

Southern Economic Advancement Project

Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) amplifies existing organizations that are working to create equitable systems in the South. Specifically, they focus on how race, class and gender intersect social and economic policy. We joined their SouthStrong movement, which is a group of Southern organizations advocating for equitable economy recovery post-pandemic.

Today's Students Coalition

The Today’s Students Coalition is a cross-cutting group of policy, advocacy, and membership organizations that have joined forces to push for urgently needed policy changes that will better serve today’s students. SBNC joined the TSC in early 2021.

Interested in Partnering?

Are you a campus, state, or national organization interested in partnering with the Student Basic Needs Coalition? Send us an email at with a brief description of your organization and we will get back to you ASAP!

bottom of page