At the onset of the pandemic, Harper College surveyed its students to get a better sense of the hardships they faced and the support they needed. Many expressed concerns about mental health and stress, including anxiety about the virus, isolation, distractions at home and uncertainty about the future of their education.
The results underscored what research has long shown: Community college students in particular often face challenges beyond their coursework that negatively impact their ability to succeed in college — from homelessness and financial insecurity to mental health concerns.
That’s why Harper, prior to the pandemic, embarked on a yearlong assessment of students’ basic needs (food, shelter, and physical, emotional and financial security). The study produced several recommendations, including the need to provide a supportive environment to help students deal with issues they face outside of the classroom and alleviate stress that interferes with schoolwork.
The goal: Create a culture