Health Policy

Using needs assessment surveys to understand priorities for pregnant and parenting community college students: Comparing US and foreign-born parents

Ryan, G.; Pieper, F.; Adam, E.; Askelson, N.; Greene, M.; Buckert, A.



To better understand differing needs of US and foreign-born pregnant and/or parenting community college students.


We conducted online survey with 608 students living in a rural Midwestern state who were pregnant and/or parenting, 15% of whom were born outside of the United States. We used chi-square tests to determine differences between US and foreign-born students.


Results of our survey highlighted several areas in the following categories which are clear needs for this group of students: personal/mental health, child’s health, basic needs (ie food insecurity), academic/professional development, and parenting supports. In many cases, foreign-born students reported significantly higher need than their US counterparts.


Parenting and foreign-born students attend community colleges at higher rates than other four-year institutions and therefore these colleges need to understand how to best serve these populations. Conducting a needs assessment survey is an efficient way to collect information that allows administrators to tailor services that will help students succeed.