Unmet basic needs often derail students’ efforts to attain postsecondary credentials, which negatively impacts their ability to succeed in the workforce. Nearly three-in-five postsecondary students today experience a basic needs deficiency. NLC is proud to announce a new Community of Practice (CoP) for 13 selected city teams to help cities work in partnership with their postsecondary institutions and community partners to remove barriers to basic needs such as food, housing, childcare, mental health services, transportation, or digital access for postsecondary students.

The current COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the inequities many postsecondary students experience as they are forced to remain or return to homes that may lack access to the internet, and for some, they may have no home at all. The CoP will help local leaders from the following cities to gain knowledge about their resident’s postsecondary completion challenges, identify a basic need to tackle and connect with peers to share and refine approaches that hold promise in overcoming barriers to college completion: Akron, Ohio; Arlington, Texas; Aurora, Ill.; Jacksonville and Orlando, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Tempe and Mesa, Ariz.; Newark, N.J.; Richmond and Rancho Cordova, Calif.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Winston-Salem, N.C.

This initiative is focused on improving equity for low-income students and students of color and to position postsecondary completion as a strategy to increase pathways out of poverty. In the months ahead, CoP leaders will aim to:

  • Develop Greater Awareness Regarding the Basic Needs Gaps of Their City’s Postsecondary Students;
  • Develop Vison, Goals and Action Plans;
  • Engage Key Partners to Achieve Desired Results;
  • Use Data to Inform Practice;
  • Build Rapport and Learn from Cities Tackling Similar Issues;
  • Document and Share Best Practices and Lessons Learned;
  • Solve a Locally-Defined Problem Regarding Basic Needs; and
  • Become a Champion and Voice for Municipal Leadership to Address Postsecondary Basic Needs.

This initiative is made possible through a generous grant from the ECMC Foundation.

To learn more reach out to Michael Bartlett (bartlett@nlc.org.)