Pilot Program in Effect to Help Massachusetts' Homeless College Students; How Does It Work?
Boston, MA - In Late January, Governor Charlie Baker announced that a new, limited pilot program would go into effect to help Massachusetts' homeless college students pay for education and housing.
The program serves to help homeless individuals with additional needs cover fees and other expenses related to college life. Those in support believe that it will aid many students in the upcoming years. This limited pilot iteration of the program will offer free housing for twenty students in the state of Massachusetts, in which all openings have already been filled.
Before devising this plan, thorough research was conducted to see the possible outcomes of this pilot program. According to the results of the research, approximately 10% of state university students were found homeless, and about 13% of community college students were found homeless in the past year. Unfortunately, state officials seem to think that number is too low; according to them, many young homeless people are ashamed to state they are homeless, resulting in the number of 10 and 13% being higher than what it’s claimed to be.
After doing the research and coming up with these numbers, state representatives wanted to dig a little deeper. According to the representatives, students who live on campus get better grades than those that live off campus. This information and the percentages listed above gave state officials the motivation to devise the pilot plan that would help twenty students a year to start.
State representatives dug into schools housing limits and found that only 98% of the units were being taken up; this left an approximate 2% for other students to join in. In other words, this additional 2% could now house the homeless students that could not afford a place to live. In turn, four community colleges were selected to pilot this plan. Those four community colleges do not have dorms and will now pair up with university campus that does have dorms (and extra room) to provide a home for these twenty students.
The program will be targeting students that are full-time and under the age of 25. Students must be attending school in Bridgewater, Lowell, Framingham, and Worcester. The schools have even offered to pay for their students’ meals.
As of now, Massachusetts is applying for additional federal money to expand the program to help more students soon.