Community colleges are mission-driven institutions committed to access and community needs. They serve a diverse population: The majority of students are employed, so they have to balance work with school; about one-third are first-generation, so they are navigating an unfamiliar system for the first time in their families; and 15% are single parents, juggling child care along with course load.

With this understanding that students are people with complex needs and responsibilities, community colleges are innovating in the ways they are delivering wraparound supports — sometimes referred to as basic needs supports — that address nonacademic barriers to college success. (Common examples of wraparound supports are mental health supports and services, emergency funds and stipends, and housing and food assistance.) Enhanced wraparound supports can lead to higher rates of retention and completion for students.

This Policy Brief explores supports offered by individual institutions, as well as broader and coordinated approaches that encompass states or entire systems. It cites examples from current state legislation and programs that support these efforts.

For more information on two-generation approaches, which support students who are parents, see this Policy Outline.

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 PUBLISHED: January 13, 2022




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