Housing Barriers to College Success

HUD
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Children’s life outcomes, including their success in school, are closely aligned with their housing and neighborhood conditions. This insight has led practitioners and policymakers to emphasize the role of place as they design new interventions, from the Harlem Children’s Zone to HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program. Evidence also demonstrates that as students progress to postsecondary education, housing conditions continue to affect their educational success. Housing for college students could be the next frontier for place-based programs.

Students Often Experience Housing Insecurity

Students are disproportionately at risk to experience housing insecurity, and many struggle to find adequate, affordable housing near their campus. Students often lack a rental history, someone to act as a guarantor, or the savings for a security deposit. For example, 41.7 percent of City University of New York (CUNY) students surveyed in 2011 reported they were housing instable. More than 56,000 college students indicated they were homeless on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in 2013—and that figure almost certainly underestimates the true total.

Most undergraduate students live off-campus today. During the 2011–12 school year, 50 percent of undergraduates lived off campus separately from their families and 37 percent lived off campus with their families. By comparison, only 13 percent of undergraduates lived on campus.

For many students, living costs exceed the cost of tuition and fees. At community colleges, room-and-board costs on average account for more than two-thirds of the cost. Low-income and some minority students are often reluctant to borrow when grants do not cover their costs, and many college counselors advise these students not to do so...

To read the full article visit The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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