The Community College League of California, in partnership with Association of Community College Trustees, hosted a convening in Chico, California on Jan. 23, 2020 for rural community college CEOs, trustees, local government officials, and K-12 partners to discuss the various challenges and opportunities they face and potential ways to fix them. The discussion covered issues such as broadband network access limitations in areas surrounding the campus, student housing insecurity on-and off-campus and childcare access for student parents.

“Only 13 California community college campuses meet the federal definition of “rural,” which limits access to grants and other funding. One key discussion was about the need to expand the definition and improve the accuracy of the campus data used to determine “rural”- at the federal level. Another discussion highlight was on the need for an increase in student financial aid to cover more than tuition. Michael Boeger, a Butte-Glenn Community College District Trustee, said “Students need more money so they can stay in the area.” 

A grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the convenings with a focus on five states: California, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas. The information gathered through these discussions will result in a report intended to influence policy at the state and federal level in 2021. Learn more here.