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Community College Groups Work to Address Student Basic Needs Insecurity

A new collaboration between the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice and nonprofit JFF is setting out to address student basic needs and expand emergency student aid in 52 community colleges across five states. The goal: to "accelerate adoption of programs that can strengthen student financial success," according to a news announcement. The project is supported by a grant from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"Even as the country emerges into a state of recovery, hundreds of thousands of students from low-income backgrounds are still in a state of deep financial uncertainty and insecurity that threatens to disrupt their college aspirations for good. We can't allow that to happen," explained Sara Goldrick-Rab, president and founder of the Hope Center, in a statement. "This is about creating a community of practice focused on student basic needs security at a pivotal moment for students from low-income backgrounds."

The Hope Center and JFF will work with five statewide organizations within JFF's Student Success Center Network — The Student Success Center for California Community Colleges, The North Carolina Student Success Center, The New York Student Success Center, The Success Center for Ohio Community Colleges and The Texas Success Center — to "surface new insights into approaches that can address student basic needs insecurity on college campuses." Participating colleges will receive technical assistance, including help with data collection and assessment methods to inform policies and decision-making. They will also establish new outreach programs "to ensure that qualifying students can access existing public and campus-based benefits, such as federal nutrition programs, transportation subsidies, and affordable child care benefits," the announcement said.

"Addressing student basic needs is an investment in college completion," said Ashley Bliss Lima, associate director of community college success at JFF. "That was true before the pandemic, and it's even more clear now. As they look to the start of another fall term, community colleges are wisely doubling down on investments in emergency aid. This work is about scaling high-impact approaches to emergency student aid that will help extend much-needed relief to community college students across the country."

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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