Life pathways and the transition to higher education for homeless and foster youth

Principal Investigator: Kimberly Skobba | College of Family and Consumer Sciences | University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.

Principal Investigator(s):

David Meyers | JW Fanning Institute for Leadership Development | University of Georgia


Homeless and foster youth face significant barriers on the path into and through higher education. Despite aspirations to attend college and achieve improved economic well-being, only a small portion of homeless and foster youth attend college and most who start do not complete their degree. Some of the very challenges encountered throughout childhood– the lack of a stable home, financial resources to cover basic needs and lack of a support system - often persist into young adulthood making the transition to college especially difficult. Using a qualitative research method, Skobba and Meyers are studying the life pathways and early college experiences of young adults who were either homeless or in foster care during high school to better understand 1) how previous family and housing circumstances influence experiences in college and 2) the ways in which material and social support needs help and hinder academic progress. The goal of their work is to identify ways in which higher education and housing policies may be better coordinated to improve access to and successful outcomes for students coming from homelessness and foster care.,

Grant Type:

Small Grant

Grant Amount:




Research Area:

Education and Social Opportunity

Topic / Subject:

Higher Education

Methods / Approach:

Content analysis, Ethnographic research, Interviews

Disciplinary Perspective:

Public Policy, Sociology, Education, Other