One of the leading issues in higher education today has to do with the exponential growth in development of student health services. Increasing demands for these services has sparked conversation about the university's role in student health promotion. Investment in affordable, accessible health care for college students can dramatically improve mental and physical health on college campuses. In the U.S., the issue is complicated by nationally expensive health care rates, and colleges and universities must be invested in making these necessary services more available for students.
According to a Forbes contributor “Young adults are at a critical juncture in development. As they learn to manage their own health and health care with less parental oversight, they are forming habits that will affect well-being, learning, and personal and career fulfillment over a lifetime.” It is our role as college student educators and student affairs professionals to help promote the health and well being of our students when possible.
The American College Health Association identifies some potential health measures, such as student enrollment rates in birth control, nutrition, and sexual health programs, availability of contraceptive services, number of healthcare providers, and rate of preventable hospitalizations to help universities identify benchmark student support practices and improve campus efforts.
With many universities and colleges struggling financially, it can be difficult to envision additional financial investment to any initiative. However, demand for health services will continue to rise as enrollment of students with disabilities and mental health concerns among other medical conditions continues to increase. ACPA College Student Educators international values to development of the whole student; we believe that student success means investing in a student’s life broadly. Access to affordable healthcare in college is a crucial factor in student development, and should continue to be a priority for institutions of higher education.
Additional resources on this issue:
- ACPA Healthier Campus Initiative with the Public Health Association
- American College Health Association
- New York Times: So College Students Really Need the Campus Health Plan?
- Diverse Education: Campus Health Centers Expand Services
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