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Michigan Community College Association to Address Students’ Economic Instability

Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) is launching an initiative next month to improve student completion and success by addressing economic instability.

Through the Michigan – Building Economic Stability Today (MI-BEST), the association will tackle the basic needs insecurity among students that includes access to food, housing, and transportation, childcare among others.

The initiative is funded by a $442,000 grant from the ECMC Foundation which will sustain the initiative until June 2022.

The statewide initiative will be led by the Michigan Center for Student Success which is a part of MCCA. The center will partner with various prominent organizations that include the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement and Trellis Research along with state-based organizations like the Michigan Association of United Ways, MiBridges, and Public Policy Associates to support Michigan’s participating community colleges.

Liz Orbits, Dean of Student Support Services at Washtenaw Community College, which is one of the participating colleges said: “This initiative aligns with our current work in the Student Resource Center case management model, food insecurity, our Student Emergency Fund and addressing critical basic needs for students at WCC. This is an outstanding opportunity for WCC to be part of important work and expand our effort to eliminate barriers to student success.”

Nationally, approximately half of two-year and four-year students are food insecure. A similar report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 30 percent of college students today are food insecure.

About 46 percent of students at two-year community colleges and 36 percent at four-year colleges experienced some degree of housing insecurity during the past year, a survey conducted by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab found.

Students of color, especially the black students and older students, are most likely to experience food and housing insecurity.

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