Google Hor

Thousands of College Students Could Be Homeless, Study Suggests

DETROIT — Jennifer Carr knows she's not the profile of a typical college student. The Detroit-area woman is 37 and has battled alcohol and heroin addiction. She's also been homeless in the past and even now is categorized as someone who is precariously housed.

Carr's story is not unusual. Studies suggest thousands of students at community colleges nationwide could be considered homeless or precariously housed, either because they have been thrown out of home, evicted, or sleep in a shelter, car or abandoned building.

"I didn't have anywhere to go. I lived in my car. I didn't have my job anymore and I got evicted from my apartment," said Carr, who is in her first semester at Wayne County Community College District in Detroit. "I was ashamed I was living in my car."

The few researchers who study the issue say there is scant data, but that they believe a surprisingly large number of college students are homeless. While some colleges have started to offer programs to help with housing or food needs, more needs to be dones- _2dd4671a7678

"For many people it's a contradiction in terms — homeless college student," said Paul Toro, psychology professor at Wayne State University. "If you're a college student, you had to be with it enough to get yourself into college, so obviously you can't be homeless."

Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor at Temple University, in Philadelphia, recently released a homeless national survey taken at 70 community colleges across 24 states.

"We're the third study to find either 13 or 14 percent, so it's consistent," Goldrick-Rab said. "But at the same time, my bigger concern, and the thing that staggers me a little bit, is thinking this could be an underestimate."

She also found that a third of the 33,000 students surveyed said they were "food insecure."

Goldrick-Rab is concerned the numbers could be higher because electronic surveys are not the best way to reach students. Response rates were only around 5 percent.

Toro is doing similar research in Detroit, where so far he has found about 5 percent of Wayne State students are homeless or precariously housed.

"Take Wayne State's student population of around 30,000 and take 5 percent of it, you know, it's a lot of people," he said, "So you're talking about 1,500 students, roughly, at Wayne State."

Goldrick-Rab said a reason why the problem may go unreported is perception.

"We have sort of had this attitude of like, 'The kids are all right,'" she said, "We framed it as the solution, right, we framed it as you want to get out of poverty you go to college. I think we falsely told ourselves, 'Well you'd be out of poverty then when you went to college.' You're not, not until you complete the degree and often times not for years after that."

Carr said the stigma needs to change.

"You need to talk about it more, I mean you can't judge people," Carr said. "There's people that want it so bad, they want to go to school so bad that they'll do anything, so we definitely need to talk about it."

Another challenge for some students is they might not even have a bed at night because the local homeless shelter would run out of room while they're in classes.

"I know students this is happening to and I have seen it in my research," Goldrick-Rab said.

Barbara Duffield, executive director of a nonprofit group that promotes success for homeless children, said the problem can be fixed.

"At the K-12 level we have a very strong federal policy, a very strong program, that has clear requirements for what school districts need to do to identify these students to connect them to resources and to keep them stable in school," said Duffield, of SchoolHouse Connection. "We don't have a similar federal policy yet that really takes the concept of the K-12, you know, single point of contact somebody to help you navigate, and adapt it to post-secondary."

Duffield said colleges in Michigan and Florida do have a point of contact or programs for homeless college students.

The Helping Individuals Go Higher program at Wayne State is one. The program was founded by Jacqueline Wilson, wife of Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson. It gives a one-time award ranging from $500 to $2,500 to help students in emergencies such as needing to buy food, clothing or making tuition and car payments. The awards are mostly funded through private donations.

There are similar programs at Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University.

Goldrick-Rab said more private charities or businesses should get involved with housing. She cited the Southern Scholarship Foundation in Florida, which for over 60 years has provided rent-free housing to homeless college students.

Carr, who is seven months sober and living in transitional housing, continues to pursue her education and eventually wants to study social work at Wayne State University.

"I just try to do what I need to do every day just to get up and go out and take care of stuff," she said. "I don't want to stay stuck. I want to move on."



Colleges across the country are offering summer workshops for their professors on how best to “foster inclusion in teaching and learning.”

Colleges across the country are offering summer workshops for their professors on how best to “foster inclusion in teaching and learning.”

Washington University in Saint Louis, for instance, will be sponsoring a two-day “Faculty Institute on Inclusive Teaching,” where participants will learn to understand “bias and its effects on teaching and learning” while practicing the design of “inclusive assignments.”

According to an online description for the institute, the school’s Office of the Provost will support the combined 12-hour event.

Meanwhile, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte recently offered faculty members an opportunity to “engage” in a “6-hour exploration of inclusive classrooms” while discussing “concrete strategies to enhance the teaching-learning process in their own courses” as part of the school’s “Summer Mini-Institute on Inclusive Teaching and Learning.”

On the first day, participants discussed “how unconscious bias can impact teaching and learning” and developed “concrete strategies to create inclusive classroom climates,” while the second day of the institute allowed faculty to “apply learning to their own courses, specifically focusing on course, content, teaching styles, and assessment methods.”

Notably, the ultimate goal of the mini-institute is to “institutionalize the widespread practice of inclusive teaching and learning,” as faculty who completed the summer workshops will “disseminate their work to other faculty.”

Similarly, Lawrence University plans to host Derald Wing Sue, the academic who coined and later disavowed the term “microaggression,” for a faculty diversity conference “focused on inclusive pedagogy.”

press release for the August conference notes that it is “designed to help all educators strengthen their individual learning communities through effective and inclusive teaching methods.”


The University at Buffalo will also offer a summer “Diversity and Inclusion Conference,” which is intended to help professors “increase awareness of how one’s multiple identities impact their work” while identifying “institutional policies and procedures that help create and build an inclusive campus community.”

One of the several workshops offered at the conference will discuss “breaking the bias bubble” where faculty will “step into the world of bias” to learn “where it comes from,” how they can “recognize its impact,” and “explore ways to become more prepared to push bias aside.”

Campus Reform reached out to all of the schools mentioned in this article, and will update this story if and when any responses are received.



POLL: 1/3 of millennials say ‘safe spaces’ ‘absolutely necessary’

Recent surveys show that many college students feel “less safe” in the wake of Donald Trump’s election and consider safe spaces “absolutely necessary” to the functioning of college campuses.

A LendEDU poll, for instance, asked 1,659 American college students whether they “agree with colleges campuses establishing safe spaces,” determining that 36 percent of respondents believe safe spaces “are absolutely necessary.”

Although a (very) slight plurality of the students surveyed actually answered that they think safe spaces “are completely out of touch from reality,” those students only accounted for 37 percent of all responses—solidly within the two-percent margin of error—leading LendEDU to note that America’s students are “in a virtual deadlock” over the legitimacy of safe spaces on campus.

Meanwhile, the remaining 25 percent of respondents said they are “indifferent” to the concept altogether, suggesting that they may not “even feel as strongly about the issue as the faculty and administration,” according to LendEDU.

Meanwhile, a new Quinnipiac poll reveals that millennials overwhelmingly feel unsafe under the Trump administration, a finding that could help explain the surprising amount of support for safe spaces in the LendEDU survey.

Among respondents aged 18-34, a whopping 57 percent said that “the election of Donald Trump” has made them feel “less safe,” more than triple the number who reported feeling “more safe” under the new administration, and more than double the percentage that experienced no change in feelings of security.

A majority of white college graduates (54 percent) likewise consider Trump’s America “less safe,” compared to just 30 percent who feel “more safe.” Quinnipiac does not supply data for non-white college graduates, but found that 65 percent of all non-whites surveyed reported feeling “less safe” under Trump. 


What student loan borrowers can expect in Trump's change to one vendor

President Trump believes there are too many companies servicing federal student loans. And he’s cutting that number.

Consumer advocates are concerned that granting the work of servicing federal student loans to just one company — from the current roster of nine — would worsen customer service and create a monopoly with too much power.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who wants to lessen the government’s involvement in the student loan business, says the move, announced Friday, will allow better monitoring of the selected vendor’s service and save taxpayers $130 million in five years. Here’s what borrowers can expect from the changes:

Q: What are the government’s plans?

The Education Department says it’s juggling too many private-sector contractors and wants to streamline the process. The department, which is part of the executive branch, is the largest issuer of federal loans.Of $1.4 trillion of student loans outstanding, more than $1 trillion of the total is issued by the Education Department.

However, the department outsources the work of handling payment, collection, payment deferment and general customer service to nine private companies. Borrowers generally deal with these companies if they want to modify their loans or have questions answered.

In the next few months, the Education Department will give the loan servicing work to one vendor after reviewing bids from the companies that are interested in winning the job.

Four of the nine companies will bid for the contract — Navient, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Nelnet, FedLoan Servicing (also known as Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, or PHEAA). Great Lakes and Nelnet have formed a joint venture to bid jointly.

Q: How will this affect my loans?

The loan terms, such as interest rates and monthly payment, will remain the same. But the selected vendor will have a new system — including a new website and an updated payment processing mechanism — in place within 18 months of landing the contract.

Related: How the rise in student loan rates will affect borrowers

Borrowers who have their loans serviced by the winning bidder will likely be familiar with the look and feel of the new website. But if you’re dealing with any of the other eight companies not chosen for the contract, you will have to learn to deal with a new website, customer service numbers and generally different ways of doing business.

Q: Some consumer advocates say this move will hurt service. Are their concerns legitimate?

The outcome remains to be seen. But many, including student advocates, agree that the current system needs improvement.

“There’s no question that the federal student loan servicing system can be improved, as evidenced by the stubbornly high levels of delinquency and default,” according to a statement from the American Student Assistance, an advocacy group for student debtors.

But handing over the contract to one company will effectively create “a trillion dollar bank,” says Natalia Abrams, executive director of Student Debt Crisis, an advocacy group.

The winner will wield significant influence in how student loan debtors repay, refinance, change payment schedules or seek lower monthly payments.

“We are very concerned that this model will create a monopoly with no competitive incentives to innovate or provide high-quality service,” ASA says. “Any revamp of the student loan servicing system must include comprehensive counseling and support for borrowers.”

Q: Why is DeVos making this change?

The streamlining process actually started under the Obama administration, which wanted to cut the vendor list to four companies. Trump wants to cut it even more.

DeVos says it’s difficult to oversee the work of nine service providers, and monitoring will be easier with one company. The selected company and its subcontractors will have to sign “level-of-service” agreements to ensure federal standards. And one of the Education Department’s selection criteria will be how user-friendly the bidders’ website and processing systems are for consumers.

Having a single company offer loan servicing will “provide a common and consistent experience for all customers” and eliminate confusion stemming from multiple “brands” that now operate, the department says.

“Having a single servicer would be helpful, provided it’s done well,” said  Persis Yu, director of the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. “Implementation would be key, and implementation means having the resources to handle the job properly.”



Transferring Colleges Could Open Up Scholarship Possibilities

Picking a college isn't often easy. From public university to private institution to something nearby or far away, there are a multitude of options to consider. 

Do you pick a school because it's strong in the major you think you want to pursue? What if you decide you don't like that major or realize you just don't like the school you initially fell in love with? 

Transferring to a new school is an option. More than 37 percent of the students who began postsecondary education in fall 2008 transferred at least once during the next six years, according to a 2015 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center study. Nearly half of those who left one school transferred multiple times during the period.

Of course, some students begin postsecondary education at a community college with the intent to transfer to a four-year school. It's one way to cut the soaring costs of a college education. 

Another way to reduce the cost of a degree is through scholarships. And, yes, transfer students can win scholarships, though many are tied to the college you attend. Here are several scholarships available for transfer students.

The National Society of Accountants offers multiple scholarships to students transferring from community colleges to four-year schools and students who are already enrolled at four-year institutions. The scholarships are open to U.S. and Canadian citizens who are majoring in accounting and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.

Awards range from $500 to $2,200. The next application period begins in January 2018; completed applications are due in early April. 

The American Association of Geographers presents two $1,500 Darrel Hess Community College Geography Scholarships for students currently enrolled at community, junior, city or other two-year colleges who are transfering to four-year colleges to pursue geography majors. Applications must submit an application and two recommendation letters. 

They are evaluated on grades, academic promise and financial need and must have already completed at least two geography courses. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31.

Teachers of Accounting at Two Year Colleges offers a number of $1,000 scholarships to graduates of two-year schools who will start earning their bachelor's in accounting from a four-year school in the upcoming academic year.

Applicants must have completed at least 20 credit hours, six in accounting, and have at least a 3.0 GPA. Applications include an essay and recommendation letter from an accounting faculty member. Check the site for information on when the next application cycle will open.

Many four-year colleges offer scholarships to students transferring from other four-year colleges. For example, Johnson & Wales University offers a transfer scholarship of up to $10,000 to students who have completed at least 45 quarter-credit hours at another college. 

Transfer students who are accepted to the university and meet the criteria are automatically considered for the scholarship. Candidates are evaluated based on their transcripts, and the award is renewable for up to four years. 

Other schools that offer scholarships for transfer students include The University of Arkansas, The University of Kentucky, The University of Maryland—College Park, Temple University and The University of Michigan—Ann Arbor's College of Literature, Science and the Arts. These scholarship opportunities are just a few of the ones available to transfer students. 

Transfer Scholarship Do's and Don'ts

Transferring is never easy – many students lose credits when they change schools. And getting financial help in conjunction with a move can be difficult. 

Here are some do's and don'ts for applying for aid as a transfer student.

• Don't wait: As soon as you decide on schools you're interested in transferring to, contact their financial aid offices to determine whether they provide scholarship help for transfers.

• Do pay attention to the rules: Scholarship requirements rarely are flexible. If you're not eligible, move on and don't waste your time or the award committee's time.

• Don't depend on a generic response: Yes, scholarship applications often request the same information and even have similar prompts for essays. But don't just copy and paste your scholarship essays. Personalize them for each scholarship you seek.

• Do get your documents together: You're going to need transcripts from your old school and possibly letters of recommendation. Make sure you have them when you need them.

• Don't count on flexible deadlines: For most scholarship organizations, the deadline is just that – the deadline. Respect it.

Remember, regardless of your reason for transferring, you're not alone. Many students opt for a fresh start at a new college or university. Luckily, you have some financial options to help remove transferring as a financial obstacle to earning a degree.


You are here: TheCollegeNetwork College News