The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Student Services and Special Programs, and the Foundation for California Community College’s (Foundation) Equity Programs, provide quality resources, educational programs, and training for California Community Colleges (CCC) and the students that they serve, especially those who have been historically underrepresented.
CalFresh is the California version of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), a benefit program that is primarily federally funded. CalFresh provides monthly benefits to help households with low income buy food at grocery stores, farmers markets, and other retailers that sell food. CalFresh participants use an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which looks like a debit card. CalFresh benefits are not income, and they do not impact students’ taxes or financial aid. Many California community college students are eligible for CalFresh. Connecting students to CalFresh and other public benefits is one of the most important and most widely recognized roles of college basic needs centers
The CalFresh Outreach project works to raise awareness and reduce stigma about CalFresh benefits. By reducing student hunger, CalFresh benefits can help our students have better health and educational outcomes. This comprehensive awareness campaign encourages students to check their eligibility and apply for benefits at students.getcalfresh.org.
Fresh Success helps community colleges and community-based organizations (CBOs) effectively start and manage CalFresh Employment and Training (E&T) programs in partnership with their counties. Through Fresh Success, CalFresh participants gain education and training that will lead to better employment and a path to economic self-sufficiency. This new approach to CalFresh E&T allows for increased federal funding and innovative, job-driven approaches.
For more information, visit: https://foundationccc.org/What-We-Do/Student-Services/FreshSuccess
Student Wellness Ambassadors
The Student Ambassador model empowers student leaders to perform peer-to-peer outreach to promote important programs and resources that increase student success. By training students around different programs and resources, they are able to build awareness, increase accessibility, and reduce stigma associated with these resources. Student ambassadors can conduct peer-to-peer outreach through webinars, class presentations, partnering with student clubs and organizations, collaborating with staff, one-on-one engagement with students, and utilizing social media and other digital tools to increase awareness and accessibility of resources. Student ambassadors build skills in community outreach, public speaking, understanding how to access resources, navigating complicated systems, and community advocacy. Peer-to-peer outreach continues to be one of the most powerful avenues to bring critical resources to those who need them most.
Foundation for California Community Colleges has been operating the FoundationCCC Student Ambassador Program since 2017. This program trains student leaders on CCC campuses around basic need resources, effective peer-to-peer outreach strategies, and provides professional development opportunities throughout the ambassadorship. Through this program, students also receive a stipend for their valuable contributions in peer-to-peer outreach. To learn more about the FoundationCCC Student Ambassador Program, please contact: Sally Fifield, Program Manager, Equity, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental Health Services
Senate Bill 129 (Budget Act of 2021) includes $30M in ongoing local assistance funds to support expanding the availability of mental health services available to California community college students. Mental health support services, includes but are not limited to:
- Engaging in student-centered design process to establish and strengthen structures to enable and streamline the delivery of holistic support for students across the continuum, including mental health promotion, prevention, crisis / acute treatment, post-acute care and recovery;
- Providing campus-based training to faculty, staff and students regarding early identification, intervention and referral of students with mental health needs;
- Ensuring students receive all applicable internal and external support services because of the close linkage between mental health and other social determinants of educational success,
- Establishing partnership(s) with local county behavioral health departments, subcontractors of county behavioral health departments or community based organizations, with the goal of establishing appropriate referral processes for students in need of clinically appropriate mental health supports; Leveraging other community-based mental health resources, where available.
Basic Needs Initiative
Senate Bill 129 (Budget Act of 2021) includes $30M in ongoing local assistance funds to support Basic Needs Centers and Coordinators at each of the California Community Colleges. As of February 2022, most colleges met the first criteria: to identify and provide a listing of available campus and community-based basic need services and resources. Upon commencement of the 2022 fiscal year colleges are expected to establish a Basic Needs Coordinator position and establish a Basic Needs Center. The Basic Needs Coordinator shall be a dedicated position solely focused on addressing the basic needs of students. The Basic Needs Coordinator responsibilities shall include:
- Coordinating with the campus financial aid office to ensure students are receiving the maximum aid available;
- Identifying, supporting and linking students to on- and off-campus housing, food, mental health and other basic needs services and resources;
- Developing on- and off-campus partnerships, including coordination with the local homelessness response system, to ensure that students have access to community based services;
- Ensuring that students receive support in accessing CalFresh and other public benefits for which they are likely eligible.