Higher Education

higher education

Higher education includes a wide range of institutions providing study beyond the level of secondary education, such as colleges and universities, community colleges, and vocational and technical schools. Higher education administrators, prevention coordinators, and community members play an important role in addressing risk factors and promoting safe and supportive environments to maximize opportunities for student success and academic achievement.

NCSSLE  resources are based on evidence-based approaches that promote positive behaviors and norms and include:

  • environmental management through policy change
  • intervention and treatment programs for students experiencing problems
  • health promotion programs to support positive behaviors and student success

Areas to Explore

Stay Informed

NCSSLE releases a bi-monthly Higher Education e-Digest. Each e-Digest includes resources from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and partner agencies, examples of effective field practice, new NCSSLE resources, and relevant learning opportunities.

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Featured Resources

NCAA Student-Athlete Health and Wellness Study

This substance use study is based on data collected in a comprehensive study of student-athlete health and wellness during the 2022-23 academic year. This is the 10th study conducted by the NCAA since 1985 that has examined the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco by student-athletes.

What You Need to Know About Building a Collegiate Recovery Program

Starting a collegiate recovery program (CRP) can seem like a daunting task, especially in the beginning stages.  It is important to have a vision and long-term goals, and it is even more important to have a plan. This document is intended to help you get started in your planning process. Since every campus has its own unique culture, this document is not intended to be a step-by-step how-to guide, but rather it is something every school can adapt in its own way in order to meet the needs of students in recovery on that campus.

Illinois Latino College Landscape Study

This report highlights the challenges and opportunities that Latino students encounter as they pursue higher education. It also outlines six key factors that influence Latino college preparation, access, and degree completion, as well as postgraduate achievement.

Advancing Black Student Success and Elevating Black Excellence in the California State University: A Call to Action

In fall 2022, Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester charged the CSU leadership to redouble efforts in supporting and advancing Black student success. A strategic workgroup developed both an approach that centered the student experience and voice as well as recommendations that challenge the CSU to think broadly and act boldly. The resulting report articulates 13 systemwide recommendations designed to catalyze the cultural change urgently needed to advance Black student success and create a potential model for other institutions of higher education.

Building a Talent Strong Texas: A strategic plan for higher education

The updated plan, which is being developed in partnership with higher education institutions, business leaders, employers, policymakers, and other stakeholders across the state, will build upon the focus of the original plan to increase postsecondary attainment by developing clear goals that expand the educated workforce and drive economic prosperity.

National Rural College Completion Trends, Challenges, and Solutions

This brief highlights key facts and barriers rural students and Rural-Serving Institutions face, make recommendations to address them, and raise the importance of centering the diversity of rural communities in completion research and policy.  

Food Insecurity in Tennessee Higher Education

This report explores food insecurity across public institutions of higher education in Tennessee and the strategies and interventions used to mitigate student hunger on their campuses. To produce this report, THEC conducted a comprehensive literature review; convened a statewide meeting of practitioners, researchers, and policy advocates on food insecurity in higher education; and surveyed campus administrators across the state on current initiatives.

Staying Safe on Campus: A Guide for Families

Staying Safe on Campus: A Guide for Families is designed for those looking to make informed decisions about their child's safety and well-being on a college campus.

Texas Student Success Programs Poised for Impact

Building upon the initial launch of the inventory, this brief highlights a few specific programs that have high potential for significant impact on student success. Student success programs generally incorporate highimpact or promising practices to improve student outcomes on (1) persistence/retention, (2) credential attainment, (3) academic achievement, (4) student advancement post-graduation, or (5) students’ holistic development.2 Our team examined five different programs included in the inventory, drawn from four institutions, that stood out as innovative and demonstrated strength in

Trends in Higher Education Student Access

This brief is the first of a new six-part analytical series focused on higher education trends. Each part of the series hones in on a major area of higher education, beginning with student access, followed by college affordability, student outcomes, finance, faculty and staff, and facilities. The series has two main objectives. The first is to help legislators, staff, and the general public track many of the key changes that higher education has undergone over the past few decades. The second is to help legislators and staff leverage their better understanding of the past to aid them in

From Setback to Success: Meeting Comebackers Where They Are

New report, which draws on over 50 interviews with comebacker students (those who exited college and reenrolled) and a community of practice through CaliforniaAttain!, identifies four key areas, each with its own set of recommendations for promoting reenrollment and degree attainment while also shifting higher education structures to address the needs of today’s diverse college-going population.

First-generation College Students’ Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic: 2020

Describes the experiences of first-generation undergraduate students during the early COVID-19 pandemic, from January to June 2020. The statistics shown include the percentage of first-generation students who withdrew from their college, who had difficulty accessing or paying for food, and who received emergency financial assistance through their college.

Prevention with Purpose: A Strategic Planning Guide for Preventing Drug Misuse Among College Students

In this 2024 edition of the guide – first published in 2020 – you will find updated data, profiles highlighting real-life stories from campus prevention professionals focused on a unique or innovative approach to the Strategic Prevention Framework, ideas for building considerations of cultural factors into each step of the SPF, and five strategies for success during times of disruption to campus life.

A picture of the title page.

Explains the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools, and the obligations of a postsecondary school to provide academic adjustments, including auxiliary aids and services. 

Supporting Reentry Programs: A Guide for Program Officers

As a higher education program officer without a background in the criminal justice or justice reform spaces, I have faced a steep learning curve as the Trellis Foundation expands our work in prison education programs and re-entry education supports.

Indiana College Substance Use Survey

The Indiana College Substance Use Survey has been serving Indiana institutions of higher education since 2009. Funded by the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA), the survey collects data on the prevalence of substance use and other risk behaviors among Indiana college students.

Chronicle of Higher Education with Ascendium Education Group

Pell Grant eligibility has been reopened to incarcerated individuals, allowing them better access to quality education and pathways to improved prospects post-release.  

A student and a teacher talking to each other.

Describes six key areas related to student mental health,  and it offers higher education leaders insights and guidance on how to best support the higher education ecosystem and the nation as we work to address the complex issue of student mental health.

A group of students talking together.

Presents data on youth mental health and suicide, outlining the extent of the problem, investigating contributing factors, and proposing effective, evidence-based action to reduce suicide risk for teens and young adults.

Policing on Campus

Tackles the institutionalization of policing in higher education campus safety and management. 

Cover image of A Guide to Campus Mental Health Action Planning resource

Guide campuses through a step-by-step process for designing a plan to promote the mental health of all students and get help for students who are stressed, struggling, or distressed. A list of references and resources planners can consult for additional assistance is included at the end of the guide.

Cover page of the The Talent Blind Spot: The Case for Increasing Community College Transfer to High Graduation Rate Institutions resource

Offers a path forward based on the work of several institutions that have demonstrated that creating robust community college transfer success is possible through strong, leadership-drive partnerships, early outreach and advising, and dedicated, holistic supports. The report helps readers understand the community college transfer landscape at high graduation rate colleges with data from the report.

Cover page of Several of Secretary DeVos' Rethink Higher Education Regulations Take Effect as Department Issues New Rule to Protect Religious Liberty, Reform TEACH Grant Program resource

Highlights several new regulations based on U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' Rethink Higher Education agenda. In addition, includes rules forged by historic consensus negotiated rulemaking on accreditation and state authorization reform. 

Cover image of the Safe Place: Trauma-Sensitive Practices for Health Centers Serving Students resource

Encompasses a broad range of material introducing and endorsing trauma-sensitive practice with an emphasis on sexual assault trauma. It is designed specifically for health center staff who serve as primary care providers to students in higher education. These tools are designed to supplement higher education efforts to develop campus-wide plans addressing sexual assault at their institutions. 

Cover image of the Presidential Engagement of Students at Minority Serving Institutions resource

explores the ways that presidents engage with students, using traditional means as well as social media. As the United States becomes more heavily entrenched in social media as a form of open expression and communication, presidents have been tasked with using the various platforms to better engage with their students. The report addresses two questions: 1) What does past research say about college presidents and the engagement of students? and 2) How do presidents of Minority Serving Institutions engage students?

Cover image of the NCSSLE Higher Education Products

Compiles all NCSSLE-developed products related to higher education. These products include webinars, case studies, and prevention updates. They provide evidence-based approaches and best practices to successfully address campus prevention issues and implement strategies that improve student success.

Cover page of ICAC/iKeepSafe Incident Response Tool for Schools resource

Teaches how to help prevent and address technology related incidents by building a cooperative relationship with schools. This free resource helps schools with the steps of incident management, such as fact-finding, documentation, reporting and engaging the appropriate school officials and other stakeholders. Through collaboration with law enforcement and the use of this tool, schools can plan and prepare an effective and appropriate response to all types of technology related incidents, including cyberbullying, sexting, hacking, and threats of violence.                            

Cover image of the Guide to Assessing Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education resource

Describes how to perform two types of studies: (1) surveys to assess basic needs security; and (2) opportunistic small scale experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of programs meant to address basic needs security. Drawing on experiences conducting research on basic needs security at colleges around the nation, the team at the Wisconsin HOPE Lab produced this guide to support colleges' and universities' own efforts. Guidance is also provided for evaluations of programs developed to support needs security. 

Cover image of the Coronavirus Hits Campus resource

Compiles articles on coronavirus as they related to higher education. The advent of the novel coronavirus, which causes a disease known as Covid-19, has affected a host of campus issues, including foreign study and travel by students and faculty members, international-student enrollments, campus health, and whether to hold mass events such as conferences, sporting events, and commencements. This page includes links to The Chronicle’s key coverage of how this worldwide crisis affected college campuses.

Cover image of the College Completion Toolkit resource

Highlights promising practices from a dozen schools across the country that are doing the hard work of increasing college completion rates for students on their campuses. The report contains links to resources and stories written by institutions themselves and will serve as an additional resource for schools as they seek to promote student degree completion.

Cover image of the Addressing Basic Needs Security in Higher Education: An Introduction to Three Evaluations of Supports for Food and Housing at Community Colleges resource

Evaluates three new promising approaches to addressing food and housing insecurity. All three programs were developed by community colleges and their partners based on their local needs, resources, and opportunities. 

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

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