(FORT WORTH, Texas) — Imagine three out of your five closest friends struggling to meet basic needs such as housing, food or childcare, or three out of every four experiencing emotional distress, stress and/or anxiety as a result.
Basic needs insecurity is an urgent and ongoing issue facing the majority of community college students, according to new survey results released today by TimelyMD, the leading telehealth company focused on higher education.
“It’s no surprise to anyone in social services that community colleges experienced double-digit enrollment declines this spring,” said Laura Kennemer, Patient Care Advisor at TimelyMD. “Students’ ability to remain healthy, successful and enrolled in school are directly linked to their ability to obtain access to basic needs. Our goal at TimelyMD is to empower students to thrive by helping them overcome the barriers they face in school and in life.”
Over the last nine months, Kennemer, a licensed social worker, has worked behind-the-scenes to help students referred to them by TimelyMD medical and mental health providers to access basic needs resources in their communities. Actual examples include helping multiple students find low-rent housing, identifying local support groups for the student-parent of an autistic child, and connecting a student in an unstable relationship with a safe shelter.
New Product Offering Bridges the Gap
Their demand for the type of social services support Kennemer and her team provide has never been higher.
Now, after listening to feedback from community college partner schools, TimelyMD is introducing a new service available this fall through the TimelyCare app that connects students with free or reduced-cost programs that provide support for services such as:
- In-person health care
- Food assistance
- Housing assistance
- Transit support
- Paying bills
- Legal services
Students will be able to easily access these resources through the TimelyCare app, the web or by phone, along with other care solutions.
To help navigate the available resources, patient care advisors on Kennemer's team will be available to connect students with local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and/or programs on their campuses that will help with their in-the-moment needs. Examples include food pantries on campus, county housing assistance programs, or in-person providers in their neighborhoods that use sliding-fee scale payment methods.
Survey Finds Community College Students Still Struggling
Responses from nearly 900 community college students surveyed nationwide in June underscore the importance of boosting basic needs support now:
- Medical and mental health care essentially tied as their most pressing basic needs, with one-third of students surveyed citing each. Food insecurity, clothing needs and housing rounded out their top 5 concerns.
- Nearly two-thirds sought out some kind of emotional support – mostly from family and friends. Only 1 in 4 turned to the campus counseling center or another behavioral health professional for help.
- Just over half sought or used resources like a food pantry, transportation voucher, reduced price/free internet, affordable housing in the last year.
TimelyMD eliminates all five of survey respondents’ top five barriers to accessing medical and/or mental health services: lack of time, not knowing where to go, cost, lack of transportation, and lack of availability. Through the TimelyCare app on their phone or other device, students can select from a wide-ranging menu of virtual care options from licensed physicians and counselors in all 50 states – at no cost to them and without the hassle of traditional insurance.
“Many community college students are frontline workers in medical, manufacturing and food service industries whose commitment throughout the pandemic unfortunately came at the expense of their own well-being,” said Luke Hejl, CEO and co-founder of TimelyMD. “Our neighbors deserve better, so we designed our service to bridge the gap between student needs and social services, eliminating barriers to achieving their educational, career, and life goals.”