Over the past two years, we have been examining how community colleges define and measure student success. Through an extensive landscape review, interviews with institutional research and effectiveness officers, and a national survey of community college provosts, it has become clear that student success is often tied to whether students’ basic needs are being met sufficiently. But collecting data on basic needs—such as examining if students have adequate access to housing, food, technological resources, healthcare, childcare, transportation—can be challenging. 

To help meet that challenge, we have published a guide that outlines 15 best practices to develop and sustain holistic data collection to support students’ basic needs. The guide offers higher education stakeholders, from front-line staff to college presidents, detailed recommendations and examples on how to build, sustain, and cultivate a data collection process, focusing on supporting students’ academic success through basic needs assistance. 

We have designed the guide for institutions who have not yet started collecting or managing basic needs data as well as those looking to maximize the impact of  the data that different campus units, across academic and student affairs, are currently collecting. Overall, we hope that this guide will provide all higher education stakeholders with a better understanding of how to collect basic needs data at scale, and how to turn these data into actionable interventions that foster both institutional and student success.