Building a UNM Center of Excellence to Address Basic Needs Insecurities in Higher Education

Sarita Cargas, April Land, Diana Gonzales-Pacheco, Tammy L Thomas

The Basic Needs Project (BNP) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) has the potential to serve as a leader in assessing and solving the national basic needs crisis in higher education. The BNP team has collected quantitative and qualitative data among representative samples of students at UNM, a Hispanic and Minority serving institution, in 2020 and 2021, laying the groundwork for this Grand Challenge Level 1 application. At this time, the Team is ready to expand efforts to establish a Basic Needs Center of Excellence at UNM which will lead the nation in basic needs research, solutions, education, and training.

The Grand Challenge Level 1 program will allow us to become a high functioning interdisciplinary team, including new members across areas of expertise. This year would allow for expansion of the core research and solutions teams, and the development of concise language, primary aims, and a clear roadmap for addressing the Grand Challenge of basic needs insecurity in higher education across the United States. Our work as a Level 1 Grand Challenge Team would aim toward pursuing large, external funding opportunities to establish a the UNM Basic Needs Center of Excellence, leading national efforts to address basic needs insecurities in higher education. For more information on the Basic Needs Project being run by members of this Grand Challenges team, please see