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Event Aims to Identify and Support Homeless College Students


Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

St. Paul, MN--Too many Minnesota college students have nowhere to go when their classes end for the day, according to new research done by the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development and the Wilder Foundation.

Homeless college students will be the topic of discussion at an event this Wednesday put on by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) and the University of Minnesota (UMN). Heading Home: Homeless Students in Higher Education will bring together educators, social service providers and policymakers for a discussion on identifying homelessness among college students, as well as possible steps that can be taken to support homeless students in their efforts to complete their education.

"It's easy to assume that every student enrolled in college also has stable housing," said Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of OHE. "Research indicates that is not always true; in fact, new data indicates that between three and five percent of college students struggle with episodic homelessness."

Pogemiller said the number is widely believed to be underreported, as many college students "couch jump" at the homes of friends and family, seldom contacting social services for help. Homelessness is also prevalent among aged-out foster youth who lack a permanent family.

Ending homelessness in Minnesota is a priority for Governor Mark Dayton. In December 2013, he and the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness, comprised of commissioners from 11 state agencies, released their action plan: Heading Home: Minnesota's Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. The long-term objective of the plan is to prevent and end homelessness for all Minnesotans, with specific steps outlined for significant progress within two years.

The event will be held at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center (UROC) in North Minneapolis on Wednesday, June 4. Experts from the University of Minnesota and the Wilder Foundation will present their latest research on homeless students in higher education and look at what higher education institutions are doing to identify, track and support homeless students. Small group discussions will follow.

"UROC was very pleased to be included in the planning and to host this important event," says Heidi Barajas, UROC executive director. "Conversations are the first steps to action. We believe this conversation will involve many innovative public-private research and outreach partnerships on behalf of Minnesota's homeless college student population."

For more information contact Sandy Connolly at 651-259-3902 or by email at

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