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Meeting community college students’ basic needs

On April 28-30, 2019, philanthropists, policymakers, educators, and community leaders joined together in Greensboro at the Proximity Hotel to learn about and discuss the work being done and the work to be done to orient North Carolina’s students, educators, and leaders towards readiness and attainment. For the next two weeks, EducationNC will be sharing content from Bridge.

If there’s one idea in the education space I’ve heard more than any other this past year, it’s this: students won’t improve their academic performance if their basic needs are not met. That’s not a new idea — Maslow purposed his original hierarchy of needs in 1943 — but it remains incredibly relevant today.

Single Stop is a nonprofit organization that aims to reduce poverty by connecting folks to the existing resources available to them. The organization’s National Education Director, Sarah Crawford, joined us at Bridge to deliver a presentation on the importance of meeting students’ basic needs.

“Our work in education is based on the fact that education is the number one predictor of social and economic mobility,” Crawford said during the presentation.

The organization embeds on several community college campuses in North Carolina, connecting students to everything from scholarships to tax credits and food stamps. According to Crawford, 36% of community college students have experienced some type of food insecurity, and the majority — 51% — have experienced housing insecurity.

During the presentation, Crawford cited a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study from January on college students and food insecurity.

“What they found is that 57% of food insecure students qualify and are eligible for food stamps, but they’re not getting it because they can’t get connected to those resources,” she said.

Robert Kinlaw

Robert was director of multimedia for EducationNC. He is a journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker in the Triangle. Robert attended both public and private grade schools in North Carolina and graduated from the Media and Journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has produced video content for The News & Observer, ABC11-WTVD, UNC-Chapel Hill, The News Reporter and more. His short documentary Princess Warrior received an Excellence in Filmmaking award at the 2017 Carrboro Film Festival. Visit his website at robertkinlaw.com.