students enrolled in schools from kindergarten through 12th grade has increased
70 percent over the last decade.
By Lauren Camera, Education ReporterFeb. 21, 2019
youth make up 10 percent or more of the homeless student population in 28
states, according to report by the National Center for Homeless Education (GETTY STOCK IMAGES)
THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS in
kindergarten through the 12th grade who are homeless has increased by 70
percent over the last decade, according to new federal data that also suggests
it shows no signs of slowing.
published this month by the National Center for Homeless Education, housed at
the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, provides a three-year snapshot
of homeless from the 2014-15 school year through the 2016-17 school year using
federal data reported annually to the Department of Education by states.
Over the three-year span, the number of enrolled students
reported as experiencing homelessness at some point increased 7 percent, from
1.26 million students in the 2014-15 school year to 1.36 million students in
the 2016-17 school year. Nine states tallied increases of upward of 20 percent over
the last three years, and 20 states reported a growth in their homeless student
populations of 10 percent or more.
The report does not weigh in on reasons for
the continued increase in homelessness among students, but it does note certain
student subgroups that experienced the most marked increases: The change in the
unaccompanied homeless youth subgroup was the most extreme, with an increase of
25 percent. According to the report, unaccompanied youth make up 10 percent or
more of the homeless student population in 28 states, up from 20 states in the
previous school year.
Students who are still learning English now
account for 16 percent of all students in homeless situations. That figure was
a 19 percent jump from three years earlier, and students with a disability saw
an increase of 14 percent. Notably, only 13 percent of all K-12 students have a
disability, but nearly two-thirds of states reported students with disabilities
account for 20 percent or more of their homeless students.
Homeless students are often described as
“hidden in plain sight”
or a largely invisible student
population, as only a small percent utilize shelters or live on the street.
Indeed, the report found that 76 percent of
homeless students said that they “share housing,” or live with others
because of a loss of housing or other financial reason. Fourteen percent
resided in shelters, 6 percent had a primary nighttime residence of hotels or
motels and 4 percent were identified as “unsheltered.” Notably, the
use of hotels and motels increased by 10 percent, continuing a trend seen in
past versions of the report.
The report also highlights a link between
homelessness and poor academic outcomes, finding that 64 percent of homeless
students graduated in the 2016-17 school year – 13 percentage points below
other low-income students and 20 percentage points below all students.