The New Federal Strategic Plan on Ending Homelessness Falls Short for #RealCollege Students

Sara Goldrick-Rab
2 min readDec 19, 2022

Just released: All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

The Biden-Harris Administration aims to “reduce homelessness 25 percent by 2025.”

Punchline for #RealCollege students, approximately 1 in 10 of whom experiences homelessness?

You don’t exist or matter in this agenda.

Get this:

(1) Homeless college students are completely ignored by this 100+ page document. The only focus on students is k-12, even though there is federal data (the 2020 NPSAS) showing that homeless college students exist. This is a massive oversight that perpetuates the invisibility and marginalization of hundreds of thousands of people.

(2) The strategy recognizes education as a strategy to reduce the odds of homelessness and housing instability, but does not explicitly call out the ways in which being in college exacerbates the odds of experiencing homelessness. That’s the subject of my TEDxPhiladelphia talk and it has to be said.

(3) The Department of Education’s existing postsecondary efforts (such as emergency aid and financial aid access plus basic needs program funding) to support homeless college students are overlooked. There is also no call for ED to improve those efforts.

Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe my reaction to this strategic plan. If it were written a decade ago, maybe. But there is widespread public awareness that undergraduate and graduate students are affected by homelessness. ED, HUD, Ag, the White House and others have had these conversations and are running relevant programs, with much more to be done.

So, what happened?

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Sara Goldrick-Rab

Author of Paying the Price, founder of the #RealCollege movement, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, and Believe in Students