Research shows that students’ academic success is entwined with their well-being. However, institutions of higher education were not designed to support students with diverse needs at scale. Most public colleges and universities have historically taken a passive approach to student support – due to constrained capacity and entrenched cultural beliefs – creating an unsupportive environment and unnavigable system that exacerbates inequities.
At College Futures Foundation, we see students as whole human beings and whole learners with multi-dimensional, intersecting identities requiring integrated supports or what we call holistic student supports (HSS). HSS is about understanding and strengthening students’ identity, agency, and competencies, particularly related to their goals of financial security and socioeconomic mobility.
Thus, the Foundation’s investments in holistic student supports are exploring efforts to:
- Integrate existing institutional support structures including financial supports, career connections, and culturally relevant approaches.
- Facilitate institutional partnerships with community-based organizations to help build colleges’ capacity for knowing and supporting students in holistic, meaningful ways.