Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Thomasina Hassler, Ph.D.


Cheryl Osby, Ph.D.

Robert Good, Ph.D.


This study explores the educational experiences and needs of college students experiencing homelessness from the St. Louis metropolitan area. Research has shown that youth experiencing homelessness have difficulties entering college, remaining in college, and graduating from college (School House Connections, 2020). Difficulty accessing services and support coupled with prejudice, discrimination, and lack of knowledge can be detrimental to the homeless students’ academic performance (Svokos, 2015). The purpose of this study is to investigate issues of homelessness in higher education as experienced by independent college students identified as homeless in high school and explore the types of support universities offer via the College Cost Reduction and Act (CCRAA). The results from this study provide an understanding of the challenges that homeless independent students face while in pursuit of a postsecondary degree and the types of supports offered via their universities. The six themes noted from interviews with four students included: basic needs, trauma, educational support, connections, adulting, and cultural competence. Recommendations for policy and practice are discussed.

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