Higher Education

Youth Homelessness and Higher Education: An Overview

This resource summarizes existing data and information on youth homelessness and higher education.

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Postsecondary attainment is increasingly necessary to move out of poverty and homelessness and live a healthy, productive life. Yet youth experiencing homelessness face barriers in transitioning from secondary to postsecondary education, as well as barriers to financial aid, college retention, and college completion. This fact sheet summarizes existing data and information on youth homelessness and higher education.

Many Youth Experiencing Homelessness Aspire to Jobs that Require Postsecondary Education.

Despite facing many challenges resulting from deep poverty, abandonment, and abuse and neglect, many youth who experience homelessness wish to pursue careers that require some form of postsecondary education. A California Homeless Youth Project study found that more than 90 percent of youth interviewed specified a career goal that required education beyond high school. Yet only 16 percent said they believed they would be able to attend or graduate college within the next five years.[1]

Youth Experiencing Homelessness Face Barriers to Pursuing College.

A Significant Number of College Students Experience Homelessness.

Youth Experiencing Homelessness Encounter Challenges with Financial Aid.

Many Students Who Experience Homelessness are Also Food Insecure.

Homelessness Impacts the Academic Progress of College Students.

Institutions of Higher Education are Responding in a Variety of Ways.

Policy Change is Underway in State Legislatures and the U.S. Congress.

[1] http://cahomelessyouth.library.ca.gov/docs/pdf/CollegeSupportsReportPDF4-27-17.pdf
[2] https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-343
[3] https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/mckinney-vento-act-two-page-summary/
[4] http://voicesofyouthcount.org/brief/national-estimates-of-youth-homelessness/
[5] http://voicesofyouthcount.org/brief/national-estimates-of-youth-homelessness/
[6] http://voicesofyouthcount.org/brief/national-estimates-of-youth-homelessness/
[7] https://www2.calstate.edu/impact-of-the-csu/student-success/basic-needs-initiative/Documents/phaseII-report-with-Appendix.pdf
[8] https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/homeless-youth.pdf
[9] https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-343
[10] https://schoolhouseconnection.org/working-harder-just-to-be-seen-and-heard-barriers-to-financial-aid-for-homeless-and-foster-youth/
[11] https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/definitions-of-food-Security.aspx
[12] https://hope4college.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Wisconsin-HOPE-Lab-Still-Hungry-and-Homeless.pdf
[13] https://www2.calstate.edu/impact-of-the-csu/student-success/basic-needs-initiative/Documents/BasicNeedsStudy_phaseII_withAccessibilityComments.pdf
[14] https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Strategies-for-Identifying-Homeless-College-Students.pdf
[15] https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/tips-for-helping-homeless-youth-succeed-in-college/
[16] https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/state-policy-resource-higher-education-and-homelessness/
[17] https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/policy-advocacy/state-policy/
[18] https://schoolhouseconnection.org/the-fafsa-simplification-act/
[19] https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/policy-advocacy/policy-updates/