Department of Education Survey Seeks to Understand How to Communicate with Students about Basic Needs Support

The survey was created in response to new research about basic needs insecurity among college students.

The Department of Education (ED) recently opened a survey that it hopes will help communicate information about available resources to students who stand to benefit. Developed by ED’s Excellence in Government fellows, the survey aims to gain insight into the forms of media (social media, text, print resources, etc.) that students use to glean information as they navigate the college experience. Furthermore, ED’s survey particularly focuses on the ways that students with basic needs insecurity prefer to communicate and seek information about resources.

Following recent research on the level of food and housing insecurity among college students, visibility of students with unmet basic needs has risen substantially. Last year, ACCT teamed up with the Wisconsin HOPE Lab to produce a report using survey data from 33,000 community college students at 70 institutions in 24 states on basic needs security. Among other findings, the data showed that 14 percent of respondents had experienced homelessness in the past year, 67 percent lacked consistent, secure access to food, and 51 percent faced some form of housing insecurity. The prevalence of unreliable access to healthy food and housing offers a sobering picture of the needs of many of today’s college students.

While making basic resources available to students is essential, effectively communicating with students about those resources in a way that connects them to the right support measures is also critically important.

All currently enrolled college students and recent graduates are welcome to take the survey here, and ACCT encourages our readers to share this story to spread the word about the survey and improve our understanding of how best to connect with and support our most vulnerable students.

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