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Shapiro Administration Unveils PA MASLOW Initiative to Support Postsecondary Students


Allentown, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) joined students, faculty, and advocates at Cedar Crest College to announce the launch of a new program to support Pennsylvania postsecondary students – PA MASLOW: A Hierarchy of Collegiate Basic Needs.

“Through the PA MASLOW framework, institutions can learn from one another as they identify ways to meet the basic pillars of Collegiate Need. And, at the state level, PDE is committed to eliminating silos among our sister agencies, working collaboratively to break down systemic barriers and cycles of poverty, and provide pathways for today’s modern students,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “Together we can provide the tools, resources, and support students need to ensure that they can reach infinite possibilities of success.”

PA MASLOW is a cross-agency partnership that expands upon the mission of PDE – ensuring every student not only has access to education, but that the education pursued provides them with support and resources to create optimal learning environments. This initiative will engage postsecondary institutions in several pillars of work, including: digital equity, housing and transportation, mental health, personal needs, adult student needs, and safety and belonging.

"None of us can be at our best if we don’t have safe housing, sufficient food, and support for our physical and mental health, and we can’t expect students to be successful in college without these, either," said Dr. Calley Stevens Taylor, vice president for student success and engagement and dean of students at Cedar Crest College. "For college students, transportation, textbooks, access to support services, and educational technology are also fundamental basic needs, and I believe that we have an obligation to address these needs, on and across our campuses, in partnership, and in our communities."

Collegiate Basic Needs are important at every institution of higher education across the Commonwealth, including public two- and four-year institutions, private, not-for-profit institutions, and business trade and technical schools. 

Students in higher education institutions throughout the Commonwealth and nation experience anxiety and other mental health issues, food insecurity, housing insecurity, sexual violence, and more. While the department has existing programming that speaks to finding solutions to these needs, PA MASLOW will provide an opportunity to expand and scale this work, as well as collaboration among institutions of higher education.

PA MASLOW is a comprehensive guide to supporting postsecondary students, translated from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Needs, which includes physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs. By addressing these basic needs in a more individualized approach, we can ensure that learners have everything they need to be successful and complete their credential.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the website or follow PDE on InstagramFacebookTwitterYouTube, or Pinterest

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