New Study: Basic Needs Supports for Community College Students Yield Big Payoffs

Posted by The Hope Center on October 12, 2021

Connecting Texas community college students to resources addressing their basic needs for food, housing, childcare and more offers big dividends, according to a new experimental study from The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice.

Nudging students with simple emails more than doubled use of the Amarillo College basic needs center and increased their odds of completing developmental education by 20%. The award-winning rural Texas community college is widely known for its culture of caring and a strategy of loving its students to success.

“We were impressed by Amarillo’s efforts to treat students as humans first and we wanted to know if that translated into academic improvements. Recognizing that the campus’s Advocacy & Resource Center (ARC) was underutilized, we designed a study to test whether we could boost the use of that support and whether in turn, students were more successful in school,” said Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, President and Founder of The Hope Center.

The research found:

  • Nudging boosted students’ odds of visiting the ARC from 22% to 56%.
  • Before nudging, male students were less likely to seek support. Nudging substantially boosted their help-seeking.
  • Passage rates of developmental education coursework—a critical milestone towards a community college degree—increased by 20%.

Read the report.

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