For Youth Experiencing Homelessness, A New Toolkit Puts College Within Reach

Photograph of a diverse group of young people wearing graduation caps and gowns.

A new toolkit from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth can help you support and advise homeless young people who want to attend college. "College Access and Success for Students Experiencing Homelessness: A Toolkit for Educators and Service Providers" (PDF, 6228KB), published in June, includes eight chapters on helping homeless young people choose, pay for and graduate from college.

Youth and family workers new to the topic will appreciate the introductory chapter explaining related federal legislation, along with the laws' key definitions and provisions. Those familiar with NAEHCY's publications will find updated information about seeking financial aid and reducing costs associated with college admissions and testing, including a worksheet that helps young people track potential waiver options.

"College Access and Success" also highlights potential barriers to finishing college, such as struggling to feel "at-home" on campus or to keep up with homework and exams. Because homeless youth may have fewer sources of emotional and financial support than their peers, options like staying in the dorms over spring break or having an accessible advisor, for example, can make a big difference.

To help young people think ahead, the guide includes a list of things youth should consider when selecting a college and a separate section comparing two-year and four-year programs. The toolkit also lists steps colleges can take to provide greater support to students experiencing homelessness.

Read the toolkit.

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