The U.S. Department of Education awarded nearly $2 million in grants to the University of Houston-Clear Lake and University of Houston-Downtown to provide financial assistance to students, according to a release from UHCL.

UHCL will receive $949,914 over three years, while UHD will receive $943,724 over three years. The funding will go toward helping students in need of financial assistance with food, housing, medical care, technology or transportation insecurities to improve retention and graduation rates, according to the release.

“Our university’s commitment to supporting the basic needs of our students is a testament to our belief in their potential and it’s an investment in their success,” UHCL President Richard Walker said in the release.

The grant award will help fund the Hawk Emergency Fund and Hawk Pantry at UHCL, said Kristi Simon, UHCL assistant dean of students and director of the Office of Student Advocacy, in the release.

“With this grant, we have something more substantial to assist students to fill in those gaps when it comes to their basic needs,” Simon said in the release.

Furthermore, the grant will be used to fund a Basic Needs Center for the Basic Needs Program at UHD and build up staff to support those needs, as well as collect data to help direct students to other resources.

“With the implementation of a collaboration and connections approach, the Basic Needs Center will consolidate existing campus-level interventions and services, improve awareness of and access to these services, and increase available resources, allowing students facing basic-needs insecurities to stabilize and experience academic success,” UHD President Loren Blanchard said in the release.