Thursday, March 7, 2019

California Community Colleges #RealCollege Survey Identifies Need to Provide More Aid to Students

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the Community College League of California (League) will host a briefing featuring the release of a new report by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice demonstrating the need to provide more aid to California’s neediest students. Of the nearly 40,000 California community college students surveyed, half experienced food insecurity 30 days prior to the survey and 19% were homeless the previous year.  

The report, California Community Colleges #RealCollege Survey, evaluated access to affordable food and housing at 57 California community colleges in the fall of 2016 and 2018. The #RealCollege Survey found significant variations across regions with food insecurity at California community colleges ranging from 38% to 59%, and student homelessness varying from 15% to 24%.

In response, Marvin Martinez, President of the Chief Executive Officers of California Community Colleges and President at East Los Angeles College stated, “It’s unacceptable for California community college students to be living in their cars or choosing between paying for textbooks or meals. We must redouble our efforts to identify the means to address our students’ basic needs.”

The survey also found sizable racial/ethnic disparities in basic needs insecurity among California’s community college students. Students identifying as African American or Black, American Indian, or Alaskan Native reported rates of food insecurity exceeding 60%—a rate 10 percentage points higher than rates for Hispanic or Latinx students, and almost 20 percentage points higher than the rates for White or Caucasian students.

“California Community College Trustees are committed to identifying multi-pronged, targeted approaches to the housing, food, and affordability challenges confronting our students,” said Trustee Jim Moreno, Chair of the California Community College League Board and Trustee at Coast Community College District.

The #RealCollege Survey highlights the need for substantial changes to the state’s financial aid for students attending a community college. This point is emphasized by recommendations set forth by the Community College League of California’s Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce. The Taskforce supports financial aid reform and Senate Bill 291, a bill introduced by Senator Connie M. Levya (D-Chino) to establish a California Community College Student Financial Aid program that would base aid on the total cost of attendance, including housing, transportation and textbooks. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Community College Board of Governors and the Community College League of California.

In a joint statement by Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce co-chairs Pam Luster, President of San Diego Mesa College, and Keith Curry, President of Compton College they explained, “We are proud to collaborate with college leaders statewide who are proactively engaged in discussions and interventions to alleviate the basic needs insecurities that affect our students. Our work is far from over, but as a coalition, we know we can find real solutions.”

During the briefing, the Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce will also announce the launch of the #RealCollegeCalifornia network. The inaugural #RealCollegeCalifornia will serve as a coalition of colleges that share best practices focused on meeting students’ basic needs which will receive strategic planning support from the Hope Center.

Learn more about the work of the Community College League of California Affordability, Food & Housing Taskforce at

To read the full report visit:

To learn more about findings from the California Community Colleges #RealCollege Survey join the live webcast on Thursday, March 7th. Survey findings will be presented by Sara Goldrick-Rab, Founder of The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice.

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2019
Program Starts at 12:10 p.m.

Join by Telephone:
+1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923
Meeting ID: 798 401 055

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The Community College League of California is a nonprofit public benefit corporation with a voluntary membership of the 72 local community college districts in California. The League promotes student access and success by strengthening colleges through leadership development, advocacy, policy development, and district services. The League works to build Quality Public Community Colleges for All Californians. Visit our website at