Interventions to support retention and resiliency of homeless students in higher education
Homelessness and housing insecurity is prevalent on college campuses and influences the ability for a student to persist in their degree program (Hallett 2010; Hallett & Crutchfield, 2017). Students struggling with basic needs have lower integration into the academic and social fabric of the institution (Gupton, 2017; Hallett, 2010). Persistence to degree not only helps break the cycles of homelessness and poverty, but also promotes social justice and resiliency. The data collection and analysis sought to answer four research questions. Using both qualitative and quantitative data, framed by the theoretical frameworks of resiliency and social justice theories was this inquiry. The research was conducted at the campus of a regional, public institution within 40 minutes of a major metropolitan area. Interviews of three key administrators and a focus group of academic advisors and survey data of 50 aid administrators at large, public institutions provided the method of data collection to assess the barriers and interventions, if any, for students encountering homelessness while in college. The data analysis found three recurring themes: Education regarding homelessness, resource development and the elimination of barriers. Research from this study underscored the need for interventions to be developed to assist the student to support retention. Additionally, the development of interventions allows faculty and staff to advocate for students while assisting the university in meeting enrollment and graduation goals.