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Connecting the Disconnected. The Transition from High School to Higher Education . Disconnected Youth Defined.

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connecting the disconnected

Connecting the Disconnected

The Transition from High School to Higher Education

disconnected youth defined
Disconnected Youth Defined
  • Out-of-school, or disconnected, youth are generally defined as young people between the ages of 16 – 24 that lack a high school diploma and are not enrolled in school and are detached from work.
  • There are 6.7 million young people in this age cohort that are out of school and out of work. Of that number, 3.4 million are “chronic,” defined as never in school or work after 16 years of age and 3.3 million are “under-attached,” defined as a lack of progression through college or into a job.
homelessness defined

The homeless are often stereotyped. For most people, the definition is simply a person who doesn’t have a home. For some, the word brings to mind images of an individual sleeping on the sidewalk, unshaven, perhaps inebriated or acting irrationally. Now consider that the nineteen year old student in the gray sweater sitting in the third row of your classroom may very well be homeless.

The U.S. government defines homelessness as

an individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence;

an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is a publicly or privately operated designed to provide temporary living accommodations;

an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or

a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development).

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which is part of the No Child Left Behind Act, expands on the definition by including homeless children and youth (National Center for Homeless Education) and adds individuals who are sharing housing due to economic struggles, are living in hotels and motels, are unaccompanied youth, children or youth awaiting foster care placement, children abandoned in a hospital, or migrant children who qualify under any of the above (McKinney-Vento Act, section 725).

Homelessness Defined
two types of homeless students
Two types of Homeless Students



Became homeless after admission to college/university & had no prior history of being homeless







History of homelessness and/or homelessness that has lasted at least two generations

  • Same as Situational Students
  • Admission and Orientation Fees assistance
  • Assistance with FAFSA Completion
what are the struggles of the homeless college student
What are the struggles of the homeless college student?

For homeless college students, even the smallest details can become big hurdles: a $5 student ID, a housing or enrollment deposit, a place to keep a birth certificate or Social Security card.

how did this happen generational recurring perspective
How did this happen??? Generational /Recurring Perspective
  • McKinney-Vento Act
    • For Georgians, where it stops…college begins
    • In Georgia, there is no established process for alerting post-secondary institution of youth’s status – Foster Care, Homeless, Disability, etc.
  • Application Waivers – Paper vs. Virtual
  • FERPA Waivers
  • Current Legislation
    • Sens. Patty Murray (WA), Mary Landrieu (LA), and Tammy Baldwin (WI) introduced the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act in an effort to help homeless students be able to afford and attend college.
how did this happen situational perspective

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 made it easier for institutions to identify and help homeless students, presenters said. Because such identification is frequently accomplished through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, financial aid administrators often have the first, and closest, contacts with that population.

The changes in the 2007 legislation made it easier for homeless students to get more financial aid: they are now automatically classified as independent students without the need for a waiver, even if they are younger than 24, the traditional age at which students are considered independent.

How did this happen??? Situational Perspective
how did this happen situational perspective1
How did this happen??? Situational Perspective
  • Students may have initially had support from home, scholarships, financial aid, etc. that allowed them to make the decision to purse their college degree. Once enrolled, a number of factors could result in loss of a permanent place to live.
    • For example, the student’s family may have experience a loss of income or other hardship that prevents them from financially supporting their student. The student may lose a job that he/she was dependent on for financial survival, or the jobs available provide salaries that are inadequate to support the student. Tuition increases may result in the student only being able to pay tuition with no money remaining for other necessities.
    • Additionally, students may find themselves in an intolerable roommate situation, including domestic violence, drug use, or extreme incompatibility.
issues for universities
Issues for Universities
  • The biggest obstacle for universities is determining how many students fall in to the homeless category and the identification of homeless students who need assistance.
  • A second obstacle is deciding where to locate the contact point in the university. Scarce resources, such as shortage of personnel, space and faculty or staff time, present real problems for many universities.
  • Once the decision is made to address the homelessness issue, a communication strategy is essential
    • Creating campus awareness of the needs of students by staff, faculty and student population and available assistance programs offered
    • Getting students to realize/admit they are homeless then seek assistance. This encompasses not just those staying in shelters but crowding into cramped mobile homes or couch-surfing at friends’ houses/dorm rooms.
on the edge
On the Edge………..

State and University Programs



McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act



  • University Programs
    • Auburn, UCLA, Michigan State, UMass Boston
  • Georgia
    • Orange Duffel Bag
    • EMBARK
  • Michigan
    • Tuition Incentive
  • Colorado
    • Family Tree’s Higher Education Fund for Homeless Youth
  • Washington
    • Tacoma Community College

Programs for High Schools

  • Project GRAD
  • Orange Duffel Bag
what can we do now
What can we do now?
  • Administrative and statutory barriers to serving disconnected youth can be changed without changing law. These can be negotiated to support a community-wide strategy to meet needs of population.
  • Signed FERPA Fee waivers to facilitate communication between High School and College of choice
  • Request the Single Point of Entry on campuses
  • Streamlined process to access Application Waivers and seek ways to make it electronic
  • Inform student to contact FWS or ask about process for on campus employment
ksu s history with homelessness
KSU’s History with Homelessness

1st KSU homeless student was identified in the 1980’s

2006 KSU Student Health Services, in conjunction with Staff Senate, began Feed the Future

October 13, 2008, KSU’s Homelessness Awareness Week (HAW) began with the Theme of Making Homelessness Visible Through Education, Engagement, and Action

May 2013 KSU’s Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment (CARE) Center opened

care center
CARE Center

Support for homelessness or at-risk of being homeless students

2011-2012 AY – served 25

Campus Trends:

Financial (Books, Transportation, Housing, etc.)



Community & Campus Partnerships

Center Needs:

Housing Resources

Community & Campus Outreach

Funding & Dedicated Space


Paden, N. (2012, February). Homeless Students? Not at mu university: the reality of Homeless College Students. ASBBS Annual Conference: Las Vegas, Vol. 19, Number 1, pp. 669-673.

Nelson, L. (2011, July 21). In college, Without a home. Inside Higher Ed. From

Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness. (Spring 2011). National Survey of Program and Services for Homeless Families. From

Dukes, C., Lee, C., & Bowman, D. (2013). College Access and Success for Students Experiencing Homelessness: A Toolkit for Educators and Service Providers. The National Center for Homeless Education.  Retrieved from

CLASP: Policy Solutions that Work for Low-income People. (2012). Out-of-School Males of Color: Summary of Roundtable Discussion. Retrieved from