Implementation for California Community Colleges Basic Needs Centers is well underway. Starting with the 2022-23 academic year, all community colleges in the state have received funding to create dedicated Basic Needs Centers on their campuses to support students’ access to necessities such as food, housing, childcare, transportation, health care, and technology. In addition to college staff directly implementing and overseeing these programs, it’s important for college research and IT staff to be aware of data reporting requirements and prepare to support program staff with this important component of the broader work.

As research and IT staff know, quality data collection and reporting are the foundation of program planning, evaluation, and improvement efforts at the system, district, and college levels and can help colleges make informed decisions about critical issues. 

To assist with this work, the Chancellor’s Office has instructed colleges to collect and report data for the new Management Information System (MIS) Student Basic Needs data element (SG23). To facilitate integration with financial aid, the Chancellor’s Office has also updated the existing Student Financial Aid Award element (SF21) with a new code to capture Basic Needs Grants (GT) awarded directly to students. Here are a few things research and IT staff should keep in mind to help colleges effectively implement these new reporting requirements and conduct related analyses:

  • Collaborate Across Your College. The Chancellor’s Office strongly encourages collaboration between college researchers, IT professionals, and program leads to facilitate data collection, reporting, and internal program evaluation.
  • Report Only on Basic Needs Centers. The new SG23 data element and GT code for SF21 are intended to only capture services, referrals, and aid provided through the college’s Basic Needs Center. Currently, colleges should not report services offered through other campus programs not integrated with the Basic Needs Center.
  • Use Your Student Information System. When possible, colleges may consider integrating the new SG23 data element and GT code for SF21 into a centralized student information system. Leveraging technology tools can help streamline data collection and MIS reporting throughout the year. Moreover, adding the new basic needs data element and code to a centralized student information system can help better connect the data to students’ other financial and academic records.
  • The Chancellor’s Office Can Help. You can reach out to the Chancellor’s Office Management Information System team or Research and Data Analytics Unit if you have questions or need support with new data reporting requirements.

More information about Basic Needs Centers and leveraging newly collected data is available in the California Community Colleges Basic Needs Center Toolkit (June 2022), which was disseminated to all colleges over the summer.

Allison Beer is a Research Data Specialist at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Research and Data Analytics Unit. 

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