The cost-of-living crisis is affecting everyone, but inevitably the most vulnerable are the most badly affected. This is more true than ever where students are concerned. Colleges in Scotland and elsewhere are already well-known for supporting vulnerable students. With the help of data from the UNIT-e education management system, they can do much more.
While students from the most deprived areas have long faced a range of challenges – from food poverty to trauma of many kinds – the cost-of-living crisis is exacerbating the effects, so that knowing how to support these vulnerable students is increasingly important.
Many colleges provide practical support, such as free breakfasts or tailored learning plans, to ensure that no student is left behind. However, there is even more that can be done to increase inclusivity and enhance the experience of students – so they flourish emotionally, academically and, in the long-term, professionally. And the good news is that it can be done with a student engagement platform most Scottish colleges already have.
Strengthening support through data
The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation website (SIMD) is a key data source for colleges seeking to recruit students from deprived areas. This is, of course, important for meeting targets for the number of vulnerable students in the college’s community, and for attracting essential funding.
Identifying and targeting these areas with marketing campaigns is an effective way to recruit more of their potential students.
However once recruited, supporting, and retaining students from these more deprived backgrounds is an ongoing challenge. It is also one with which the UNIT-e can help.
Empowering colleges to support vulnerable students
UNIT-e is used by 12 of Scotland’s 25 colleges. Yet one of its features is still little known. This is a reporting function which enables cross-referencing of SIMD postcode data with a college’s student data. By combining these two pieces of information, you can readily identify the areas of deprivation from which your current students come.
This not only enables you to target your marketing more accurately at these areas, but also to plan more effective retention and support strategies for the students they provide. Knowing where they come from can help with offering the most appropriate support, with tailoring day-to-day activities, and with promoting learning progress and driving academic attainment.
As Gold Sponsors of the College Development Network Awards, UNIT-e education management system recognises the work of colleges and educators in supporting vulnerable students, and provides the tools to help them continue to achieve that important goal.