Higher Education Liaisons
Homelessness among college students is an increasing concern on campuses across the U.S. Homelessness during college is associated with food insecurity, mental health concerns, and academic challenges including dropped classes, low GRE, and delayed degree completion. Homeless education liaisons—a role often filled by financial aid officers—are tasked with assisting students experiencing homelessness as the students navigate systems of support for basic needs while pursuing their degrees. Little is known about the perspectives or experiences of these professionals in terms of their role as a liaison. Our aim was to inform efforts to support these professionals by gaining an understanding of the knowledge and experiences of liaisons and their professional development preferences and needs. Based on survey data collected from 49 liaisons in four states, we identified gaps in understanding of college student homelessness, such as underestimates of the rate of student homelessness. We pinpointed areas of potential professional development including methods to identify and reach all students at risk for or experiencing homelessness and approaches for collaboration with community partners. We found that liaisons welcomed professional development and preferred online training and peer support as approaches to gain knowledge and skills to fulfill their critical roles.
Haskett, Mary E.; Buccelli, Alexandra R.; and Renbarger, Rachel L.
"Higher Education Liaisons for Students Experiencing Homelessness: Role Preparation and Professional Development Needs,"
Journal of Student Financial Aid: Vol. 52
, Article 3.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jsfa/vol52/iss1/3