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College Students Facing Homelessness by Renae Roque

College students face homelessness because of factors such as high housing costs, tuition, and other bills.

As a NDNU or private school student tuition roughly costs $30,000 dollars per year, according to College Board (collegedata). Although there are financial aid options, most salaries working-students earn isn’t enough. That being said some students end up in debt. According to The Institute for College Access and Success, “Seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt, with an average of $30,100 [dollars] per borrower” (ticas).

Most college students have to juggle school and work, but there are some who struggle with finding a place to stay at the end of the day which can take a toll on a student.

There isn’t a lot of attention on student’s who face home insecurity. According to the LA Times in 2016/17, “The only official clue to the number of homeless college students in the country is the 56,588 who identified as such on their federal financial aid applications — a number that advocates say understates the problem.”

According to Mike Palmieri, former NDNU student retention officer said, “…home insecurity isn’t something asked on a college application, and there’s usually not a standard way for schools to collect that information. Students who are starting college home insecure usually put a return/home address of some kind (relative, etc) so it isn’t known. Once they’re in school, the typical way staff/faculty find out is either if a student discloses it to them at some point because they have built a trusting relationship, or in some cases because the student’s situation is discovered (they’re “caught” living on campus in a friend’s room/apartment, or living in their car on campus).”

However, the problem of student home insecurity can change with proper assistance such as affordable or little to no cost housing options. For example, according to the California Aggie, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to help homeless college students in California. Assembly Bill AB 1228 guarantees housing for homeless youth allowing campuses to stay open during the holidays. However this bill is still in the process for the UC system and excludes the private school system, such as NDNU.

But, students such as Micah Tan, Junior and housing desk assistant at NDNU said, “Housing is every expensive and not everyone has the privilege to live with their parents close to the school. Sometimes parents kick their own children out and/or are unwilling to pay for their housing, so they should be able to stay at school.”

However Palmieri said, challenges schools face with giving rooms are, “…some staff will be needed over break to be available for emergencies, etc (RAs, professional on call staff). There’s concern for risk to the university, from a legal standpoint – in terms of liability, if anything happens, or there’s misconduct by the student(s). So, there is a lot of pushback from some of the administration regarding doing something like this.”

Although paying bills such as tuition cannot be completely eliminated, factors such as housing costs can be determined according to the student’s housing and financial situation.

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