Housing and food Insecurities Of Tri-C Students
According to a survey of more than 4,000 undergraduates at 10 community colleges in Ohio by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, half of all community college students are struggling with food and/or housing. 20 percent are hungry, and 13 percent are homeless. Tri-C is not the exception.
“I that think this has been an issue with community colleges in particular for a very long time, and something that we have tried to work on for a very long time in a lot of different ways.”, says Dr. Denise McCory, the Campus President at the Metropolitan Campus.
According to the IPEDS graduation rate, only around 24% of the students that started their education in Fall 2019 graduated, and only 25% successfully transferred. Students and staff both believe this to be directly related to the poor living conditions of some of the students. When asked what the main issues of community college students right now Khailand Kirkland, a current student declared “I think financial [issues], transportation, and now Covid are affecting all of the public and society.”
We interviewed a handful of students on their views on these problems. Most agree that after the Covid pandemic started the situation has significantly worsened. This is especially true for foreign students, as third-semester student Robert Carr explains: “It [Covid] definitely has affected negatively, there’s been a lot of people who lost their jobs. I lost my job, my parents lost their jobs, my grandparents lost their jobs, and for a long time a lot of us had to struggle.”
But not all is negative at Tri-C, a community college dedicated to ensuring education for students regardless of income, race, or age. “With the help of a lot many great community supporters, we have some exciting things that are happening, have already happened, and will happen soon for our Metro Campus students in particular.” states Dr. McCory.
The Student Life Offices provide emergency food and referrals to students in times of need, helping them to stay in school and meet their educational goals. “I use it. It is really helpful. They give food out, it’s all donated. ” declares first-year student Mohammad Othman “I’m gonna be honest with you, there are a lot of things that you may actually need or want. Like shampoo, stuff like that, toothbrush, toothpaste. It’s all free there, they have it.” Students needing long-term food assistance are also encouraged to make an appointment with Benefits Access/Project Go!
Benefits Access/Project Go! housing resources focuses on students who are homeless or have housing insecurities. The program has information about housing resources and the ability to connect students to various community agencies that assist with housing needs. Each campus has a designated safe space that is private and confidential for you to connect with community resources. Students can be connected to housing resources through the Benefits Access/Project Go! Program location in the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships Office on each campus.
Even with all of these efforts, most of the students have never heard of the resources Tri-C offers for them. “Make all the avenues to help students available. Put up posters everywhere. Especially for us visual learners. Because when people don’t see it, they are not going to know about it” says Caillou Allen, a first-year student.
There are still a lot of things that could be bettered with time. “Do a survey of what people’s current situations are or things that they may face. Through the information they get from the survey, take that information”. Says Mr. Javier Davis, a teacher at Tri-C when asked for a suggestion for the college’s future projects. He believes that knowing the specific circumstances people face right now, would make it easier to target their issues with specific solutions one by one.
Finally, Dr. McCory leaves us with a message for all students at Tri-C: “Please reach out to us for help. I think a lot of times students don’t know. When they think about the support that the college offers, I think that they think that we only offer academic support. But we see our mission as serving the students holistically. We understand that you can’t take care of your academics and focus on academic success when you’re hungry when you don’t feel safe when you don’t have stable housing. So, we really see that as part of caring for the students. We do want to help you be successful in every way possible.”.
By Valentina Sanchez Rodriguez
- College Navigator. (s. f.). College Navigator – Cuyahoga Community College District. Recuperado 1 de octubre de 2021, de https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=cuyahoga+community+college&s=OH&id=202356#general
- Cuyahoga Community College. (s. f.). Tri-C Benefits ACCESS/Project Go! Housing Assistance: Cleveland, Ohio. Tri-C. Recuperado 1 de octubre de 2021, de https://www.tri-c.edu/paying-for-college/financial-aid-and-scholarships/benefits-accessproject-go/housing-assistance.html
- Cuyahoga Community College. (2021, febrero). Cuyahoga Community College Graduation/Transfer/Retention Rates. https://www.tri-c.edu/about/documents/graduation-rates-and-transfer-rates.pdf
- Inside Higher Ed. (2021, 4 junio). Community colleges launch new plans for campus housing. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/06/04/community-colleges-launch-new-plans-campus-housing
- J.´. (2014, 3 enero). Collaboration Between Joseph’s Home and Tri-C Benefits Students, Homeless Clients. Joseph’s Home. https://josephshome.com/collaboration-between-josephs-home-and-tri-c-benefits-students-homeless-clients/
- Karen Farkas, cleveland.com. (2015, 10 diciembre). Community college students struggle with hunger and homelessness, study finds. Cleveland. https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2015/12/community_college_students_str.html