New Study Shows Youth Who Experience Homelessness Less Likely to Attend College

Chapin Hall research highlights intersection between youth homelessness and educational outcomes

Chicago, IL – November 4, 2019 – Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago today released a new report highlighting the intersection between youth homelessness and educational outcomes. The report, Missed Opportunities: Education Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness in America, reveals that the 4.2 million young people who experience homelessness each year are less likely to enroll in college, and youth who left school before high school graduation were considerably more likely to experience homelessness.

Adolescence and young adulthood represent critical developmental windows, and Chapin Hall’s research shows that every day that young people experience the stress of housing and educational instability represents a missed opportunity to support healthy development and promote successful transitions to adulthood. Key findings include:

  1. Youth who do not have a high school diploma or a GED face a greater risk of experiencing homelessness;
  2. Young people who experience homelessness are less likely to attend a four-year college, and even when they do, many still struggle with homelessness;
  3. Opportunities for young people to advance their education and economic standing may depend on local community resources; and,
  4. Young people need more information about educational resources from homelessness services providers.

“Too often, homelessness prevents young people from realizing their full potential in their education and careers,” said Bryan Samuels, executive director of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. “In order to more effectively prevent and eventually end youth homelessness, we must ensure that homelessness and education systems are working together to improve outcomes for young people.”

The report provides recommendations for preventing youth homelessness and promoting educational attainment including: helping schools to identify youth experiencing homelessness earlier, before they reach a crisis; building partnerships across schools and service sectors so that students encounter minimal disruption to their education when they change school districts; and, collecting information on housing situations of college applicants and those admitted so that institutions can make resources available to students with housing challenges.

Keynote Address
Dr. Matt Morton presents findings at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Conference on Nov. 4 in Washington, DC.

This report is the ninth in a series of research briefs on youth experiencing homelessness in America. The previous briefs covered other critical findings from the Voices of Youth national study:

To view the full report, click here.

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Background information about Voices of Youth Count

Voices of Youth Count is made possible through a grant from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Office of Policy Development and Research) and support from other funders including Chapin Hall, Arcus Foundation, Ballmer Group Philanthropy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Foundation, Casey Family Programs, Dr. Inger Davis, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Liberty Mutual, Melville Charitable Trust, and Raikes Foundation. Chapin Hall is solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations in Voices of Youth Count publications. Such statements and interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the government or any of Chapin Hall’s other partners.

Background information about Chapin Hall

Chapin Hall is an independent policy research center at the University of Chicago focused on providing public and private decision-makers with rigorous research and achievable solutions to support them in improving the lives of children, families and communities. Chapin Hall partners with policymakers, practitioners, and philanthropists at the forefront of research and policy development by applying a unique blend of scientific research, real-world experience, and policy expertise to create solutions for improving the lives of children, youth, and families.

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