College Students


College students pursue higher education beyond high school, including students attending four-year university, community college, tribal college, and/or technical college. College students are a diverse group that includes first-generation students, students of color, veterans, international students, parents and caregivers, working adults, and young and emerging adults with various backgrounds, interests, and goals, following their unique pathways into post-secondary education. 


Higher education unlocks many opportunities and equips individuals with invaluable knowledge and skills. It is a powerful lever for upward social and economic mobility and fosters personal growth and development. Yet, the promises of higher education are not realized for all. Higher education's inaccessibility stems from financial burdens and lack of resources and support networks, which especially impacts disadvantaged students. The recent affirmative action verdict by the Supreme Court reveals the ongoing need to remove barriers by establishing inclusive admission policies, equal access to educational resources, and support structures that level the playing field students, regardless of their racial or socioeconomic backgrounds. 


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated mental health issues among college students, with the abrupt shift to remote learning, social isolation, and uncertain futures taking a toll on student well-being. This heightened strain on college students' mental health has revealed gaps in school and university support systems, emphasizing the critical need for immediate rebuilding and strengthening of resources dedicated to student well-being. Students today face systems of privilege and oppression within higher education that perpetuate inequities


Higher education is often associated with an improved quality of life and better health outcomes, as it opens doors to higher-paying careers and access to healthcare resources. Obtaining a college education can play a pivotal role in influencing positive health-seeking behaviors, strengthening social networks, and facilitating growth in income and lifestyle. Higher education institutions have historically played key roles in advancing women's rights, civil rights, and numerous social and technological innovations that continue to enrich our lives today. 


However, some students encounter barriers that significantly impact health and overall well-being. Despite ongoing efforts to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion across institutions of higher learning,  significant gaps persist, deeply affecting college students' sense of belonging. Issues such as discrimination, unequal access to resources, and lack of representation continue to plague college campuses, profoundly impacting students of color, first-generation students, LGBTQ+ students, and their sense of belonging.


Creating a supportive and inclusive campus environment is crucial in supporting the well-being of college students. Prioritizing a student-centered,  equitable approach that centers on shared stewardship is imperative in improving campus well-being.  Student activism has played a vital role in empowering those changes throughout history, remaining a stagnant and powerful force for reform. Whether it's the Million Student March advocating for free tuition and debt relief, students championing equity and racial justice, or the fight for fair compensation for postdocs and graduate students, current campus leaders are presented with a unique and significant opportunity to establish fresh legacies rooted in inclusion, well-being, and justice within their own academic institutions, thereby fostering vibrant and inclusive campus communities. 


Resources & Tools


Cover page of report
Mental Health, Higher Education, and COVID-19: Strategies for Leaders to Support Campus Well-being
Resource - Report
Brought to you by American Council on Education
Published on 04/08/2020
Student Academic Performance Is Affected by Issues Inside and Outside School infographic
Student Academic Performance Is Affected by Issues Inside and Outside School
Resource
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
College students waiting for food in a cafeteria. An orange banner reads 'College Campus Food Insecurity Part 1'.
Food Insecurity on College Campuses
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Cover of Campus Well Being Guide
Campus Well Being Guide
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Landing page for the Mapping Student Debt tool
Mapping Student Debt
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Thriving Campuses Toolkit banner image
Thriving Campuses Toolkit
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Published on 01/05/2022
Cover page of #RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity During the Ongoing Pandemic report
#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity During the Ongoing Pandemic
Resource - Report
Brought to you by The Hope Center
Screen capture of Peers Against Tobacco
Peers Against Tobacco
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by PAT
Cover page of A Review of the Domains of Well-Being for Young People report
A Review of the Domains of Well-Being for Young People
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Urban Institute
PDF Cover: The Development of an Indigenous Health Curriculum for Medical Students
The Development of an Indigenous Health Curriculum for Medical Students
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by AAMC
PDF Cover: How Should Health Professions Schools Partner With AI/AN Communities?
How Should Health Professions Schools Partner With AI/AN Communities?
Resource - Case Study
Brought to you by AMA
Cover of Creating a Diverse Student Success Infrastructure
Creating a Diverse Student Success Infrastructure: The Key to Catalyzing Cultural Change for Today’s Student
Resource - Report
Brought to you by American Council on Education
Published on 09/01/2019
First page of Young Adults and Public Health brief
Young Adults and Public Health
Resource - Policy Brief
Screen capture of Hunger Free Campus Bill webpage
Hunger Free Campus Bill
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen capture of Dashboard cover: University Disability Inclusion Dashboard
University Disability Inclusion Dashboard
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Johns Hopkins University
Screen capture of The Impact of COVID-19 on Student Mental Health web page
The Impact of COVID-19 on Student Mental Health
Resource
Brought to you by Active Minds
Report cover for Parenting While in College
Parenting While In College: Basic Needs Insecurity Among Students With Children
Resource - Report
Brought to you by The Hope Center
Investing in Student Mental Health: Opportunities
Investing in Student Mental Health: Opportunities & Benefits for College Leadership
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by American Council on Education
Cover of The Healthy Minds Study Fall 2020 Data Report
The Healthy Minds Study Fall 2020 Data Report
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Healthy Minds Network
Published on 02/01/2021
Cover page of Investing in the Health and Well-Being of Young Adults
Investing in the Health and Well-Being of Young Adults
Resource - Report
Brought to you by NAP
Screen capture of What is Emerging Adulthood
What is Emerging Adulthood
Resource - Website/webpage
Cover page of Defining Young Adulthood
Defining Young Adulthood
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by USFCA
Cover page of At What Cost? Student Loan Debt in the Bay Area
At What Cost? Student Loan Debt in the Bay Area
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Screen capture of Post-Secondary Enrollment and Graduation
Post-Secondary Enrollment and Graduation
Resource - Data Bank/repository
Brought to you by Results for America
First page of Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Health of College Students
Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Health of College Students
Resource - Journal Article
Published on 06/08/2021
Community Commons interns at the zoo
To Improve Student Health and Well-Being Focus on Mental Health
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Screen grab of
"I'm hungry all the time": How Hunger Has Reached Crisis Level on College Campuses
Story - Written
Brought to you by Yahoo
Published on 09/13/2020
Photo of a college student staffing a food pantry. An orange banner reads 'College Campus Food Insecurity Part 2'.
Innovative Initiatives on College Campuses Addressing Food Insecurity
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Masked college student with dark coily hair, sitting in a large well-lit lecture hall
College Student Mental Health Equity during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Screen grab of article on student loan forgivenesss
What Experts Say About the Benefits of Student Debt Forgiveness
Story - Written
Brought to you by Insider Inc.
Published on 12/05/2020
Infographic describing common causes of stress among college students
Student Stress and Mental Health
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 11/19/2019
A photo of two students shopping for food. An orange banner reads 'College Campus Food Insecurity Part 3'.
Reexamining SNAP Policies for College Students
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
three students sitting at a counter while working on computer
Using Dialogue to Grow Campus Well-Being
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Students standing around therapy dog
The Student Stress Crisis: What is Portland State Doing to Make a Difference?
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 11/19/2019
Screen capture of Will the Coronavirus Forever Alter the College Experience?
Will the Coronavirus Forever Alter the College Experience?
Story - Written
Brought to you by NYT
Screen grab of Mental Health Resources
Mental Health Resources
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox

Data & Metrics


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