Too Many Students Lack Food and Housing Security

Since its inception, CCCSE has helped colleges use data to better understand and engage their students. In 2021, the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) took a closer look at the challenges facing community college students by exploring housing and food insecurity among this population. With 29% of respondents classified as food insecure and 14% classified as housing insecure, these findings shed light on the need for colleges to get involved—either by better supporting their students directly or by connecting them to relevant government and community support services. CCCSE has long called attention to the many obligations community college students negotiate in addition to their studies, including work; caring for dependents; and managing the financial demands of tuition, other college costs, and living expenses.

No community colleges are redesigning their roles for the post-pandemic world. Given the pandemic’s impact on both colleges and students, it only makes sense for colleges, in partnership with their communities, to more actively help students meet their basic needs. This work has become mission critical: It is essential to bringing back the students who were forced to stop out, better supporting those who stayed in college even though they were struggling, and ensuring that all students are well positioned to succeed.

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