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

Cypress College is one of 57 colleges to participate in the #RealCollege Survey, which evaluated access to affordable food and housing in the California Community College system in the fall of 2018. The report, which is released today and will be detailed during a conference call this afternoon, identifies a need to provide students with additional aid.

According to this new report released by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, seven in 10 students responding to the survey experienced food insecurity or housing insecurity or homelessness during the previous year.

Data specific to Cypress College show that 44.2 percent of participating students reported having experienced food insecurity, 55.5 percent experienced housing insecurity, and 13.7 percent experienced homelessness. Overall, the #RealCollege Survey finds stark variation across regions with food insecurity at California community colleges ranging from 38 percent to 59 percent while rates of homelessness vary by region from approximately 15 percent to 24 percent.

“Until now, we have lacked specific information about housing and food insecurity that would help us move beyond surface-level support for our students,” said Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schilling, who is also a member of the statewide Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce focused on finding resolutions to these issues. “We knew a significant problem existed, and we did what we could to help. Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab’s #RealCollegeCalifornia research provides actionable information about students on our campus, which will help us meet their needs.”

There are also sizable racial/ethnic disparities in basic needs insecurity among California community college students. The report highlights rates of food insecurity among students identifying as African American or Black, American Indian, or Alaska Native exceeding 60 percent — a rate 10 percentage points higher than rates for Hispanic or Latinx students, and almost 20 percentage points higher than rates for students identifying as White or Caucasian.

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

The #RealCollege Survey highlights the need for financial aid reform at the community college level, one of the recommendations put forward by the Community College League of California’s Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce. The Taskforce is supporting Senate Bill 291 introduced by state Sen. Connie M. Levya (D-Chino), a bill sponsored by the California Community College Board of Governors and co-sponsored by the Community College League of California, which would establish a California Community College Student Financial Aid program that would base aid on the total cost of attendance, including housing, transportation, and textbooks.

A joint statement by Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce chairs Pam Luster, president of San Diego Mesa College, and Keith Curry, president of Compton College, said, “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 and will receive strategic planning support from The Hope Center.

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

To learn more about the California Community College #RealCollege Survey, join a live webcast of the survey findings on Thursday, March 7. 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.

Meeting ID: 798 401 055

About Cypress College:

Cypress College offers students a pathway to their future in an environment in which employees commit to joining students on their educational journey. The college’s half-million-plus alumni include actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses, and teachers. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice, and for others, it provides essential training for a prosperous career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 56 university-transfer majors, 176 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 73 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 115-campus California Community College system. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Stanton.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22, and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.

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