Student Homelessness Hits Record Levels; First-Ever Data on Homeless Student High School Graduation Reveals Large Gaps
New federal data released this week reveal that 1,355,821 students experiencing homelessness were enrolled in public schools during the 2016-2017 school year. This was the highest number ever recorded.
- Twenty states experienced a growth in their homeless student populations of 10% or more during the three-year period covered in the report.
- Over the past ten years, the number of homeless students has increased by 70%.
- The number of unaccompanied homeless youth – youth who experience homelessness on their own and are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian – increased by 25% over the past three years.
The data also illustrate the negative impact of homelessness on academic performance, over and above poverty.
- Based on data from 44 states, the 2016-2017 national average graduation rate for homeless students was 64%.
- This is 13% below other low-income students (77.6 %) and 20% below all students (84.1%).
- Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all states are required to disaggregate and share graduation rates for homeless students starting with the 2017-2018 school year.
The federal data were released in a report by the National Center for Homeless Education, the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance center.
Education Leads Home Releases Homeless Student State Snapshots
Education Leads Home (a collaborative effort by SchoolHouse Connection; Civic; the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness; and America’s Promise Alliance) released the first-ever state-level look at high school graduation rates for homeless students. The paper reports data from 26 states.
- State-level data shows that homeless students graduate on time at significantly lower rates than their housed peers, with the lowest state rate at just 45 percent.
- In some states, the graduation-rate gap between homeless students and all students is over 35 percentage points, and the gap between low-income and homeless students is over 20 percentage points.
The Education Leads Home campaign also released fifty State Homeless Student Snapshots. These state snapshots provide state-specific data on:
- The number of homeless students identified and enrolled in public schools;
- The number of extremely poor children and youth also experiencing homelessness;
- The percentage of children under the age of six experiencing homelessness; and
- The number of FAFSA applicants who are determined to be (or are at risk of becoming) an unaccompanied homeless youth
Students experiencing homelessness are 87 percent more likely to drop out of school than their housed peers. Without a high school diploma, youth are 4.5 times more likely to experience homelessness later in life young adults later in life. This data is critically important because more than 95 percent of jobs created during the economic recovery have gone to workers with at least some college education, while those with a high school diploma or less are being left behind. Research continues to support the imperative of actively addressing the educational needs of homeless students to help break the cycle of poverty.
Goals of the campaign:
- Young children experiencing homelessness will participate in quality early childhood programs at the same rate as their housed peers by 2026
- Students experiencing homelessness will reach a 90% high school graduation rate by 2030
- Youth experiencing homelessness will reach a 60% post-secondary attainment rate for homeless students by 2034