Homeless College Students

Written By: Brigitte J. Rogers

Most of us know what it feels like to be broke in college. And by that I mean no money for beer and gas. To a typical college student, extra expenses are thought of as entrance fees to dive bars, late night snacks and a solid collection of red plastic cups. For thousands of students, extra expenses will be the cost of books, supplies, and most shockingly, where to live during school break.

According to data from Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), 58,000 applicants nationwide self-identified as homeless in the 2013-2014 academic year. Homeless college students come from many situations. They have either transitioned out of foster care, run away from home, or are homeless with their families. Despite this, they are determined to continue their education. But homeless students will face educational barriers way before they even step foot on a college campus. There are entrance exams such as SAT and ACT, and college applications that all cost money.

If parents with decent jobs and stable homes struggle to afford the annual cost of college tuition, what does that mean for thousands of homeless students who face the same challenge? Fortunately, there are financial programs that they can rely on such as Pell Grants, State Grants, Institutional Grants, Tuition Waivers, Work Study, and Loans. But in order to apply for these benefits, they are required to provide documentation and parental information. Many homeless students do not have access to records and are unable to contact their parents; a roadblock that can delay or prevent them from receiving financial assistance.

Homeless students who finally make their way into college with the help of financial aid, are confronted with the cost of books, supplies, food and clothes. And if they are residing in a dorm, financial aid will only provide housing during school sessions. That means for the extent of a holiday break and during the summer months, these students are left with nowhere to go. If they are lucky they will stay with a friend or find temporary work that allows them to remain on campus. But thousands will be forced to return to the streets.

For more information please visit http://deservingdecor.org/category/homelessness/

Brigitte RogersComment