Three NASFAA member institutions have deployed particularly promising tactics to help their homeless students succeed in college, according to a new report from the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE). Financial support is a common theme among all three.
In “Supporting College Completion for Students Experiencing Homeless,” NCHE profiles Florida State University, Kennesaw State University, and the University of Massachusetts - Boston. Though their programs differ in funding and structure, each offer financial support to homeless students.
”Some students who experienced homelessness during their K-12 years are fortunate enough to secure stable and adequate housing in a college dormitory; but, even then, these students continue to face challenges, including concern about having enough financial aid and/or income to pay their tuition and living expenses, and concern about where they can go when dormitories close over extended breaks,” the report notes.
Florida State attempts to alleviate some of that concern by connecting its homeless students with additional, private scholarships when financial aid falls short of meeting their full need. They also offer flexibility to pay any housing-related fees after students receive their financial aid disbursements. In addition, the institution’s Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement has a liaison that works directly with the Office of Financial Aid to equip students with money management skills and financial aid information, according to the report.
At the University of Massachusetts - Boston, the students from the College of Management offer personal financial literacy training for homeless students, who often need a more nuanced approach than typical school-wide financial trainings can provide, the report notes. And at Kennesaw State, homeless students may be allocated private funding to cover basic costs, such as food, housing and apartment application fees, and gas and grocery cards, according to the report. Leftover funds get channeled into scholarships.
Beyond financial aid, all three institutions have a variety of other support measures in place, including help with academic, career, and mental health counseling. While it’s too early to definitively call these programs a success, they so far seem like promising models to replicate, the report notes. NASFAA also has tools to help schools work with their homeless students, including a glossary of common terms and a list of resources to find additional information.
Publication Date: 5/14/2015