An advocacy organization has selected seven cities across the U.S. for a grant program that will meet the basic needs of college students.
The National League of Cities technical assistance initiative will ensure that students can complete college degrees, certificates, or credentials without basic needs like food, housing, and transportation getting in the way.
The selected cities will uncover how many of their community college students are struggling to stay on course and will then design a plan with their local colleges, chambers of commerce, workforce development boards, city agencies, and community-based organizations to understand the data and target resources and support where students can easily access them.
“Chula Vista is concerned that our local college students are housing and food insecure. This grant will enable us to learn the best methods to assist these students and allow them to become successful in their college education and future careers,” Mayor Mary Casillas Salas of Chula Vista, California, one of the cities selected for the initiative, said.
The cities that are part of the initiative are Denver, Colorado; Oakland, California; Philadelphia; Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; Rochester, New York; and San Diego, California.
The initiative will provide grant and technical assistance to cities through June 2021.
A study conducted by researchers from the University of Iowa and Temple University found that out of 30,000 college students nationally, approximately half of two-year and four-year students are food insecure. Another 2018 study found that 36 percent of college students experience hunger.
Reports say lack of access to a reliable supply of nutritious food can make a student fail assignments and exams, withdraw from classes or the university, score lower grade points and even stay away from such important career opportunities as internships.