A recent survey has revealed that 38 percent of California’s homeless college students are Latino and 23 percent are African American.

The survey conducted by the California Student Aid Commission highlights that these two groups are the most disadvantaged within the Golden State college community.

“Sixty-one percent of California’s homeless students are Hispanic or African American, although they represent only 49 percent of the total number of students surveyed,” said the Student Expenditures and Resources Survey (SEARS) 2018-2019.

Non-Hispanic white students accounted for 19 percent of the permanent homeless college cases, 8 percent were Asian, and 11 percent were students of two or more races.

“The biggest difficulty is housing since paying a large amount for rent is very difficult. It also causes distraction, tension and lack of ability to focus on studies,” commented a student from the south-central coast of California who was not identified by the report.

Of the total number of homeless students, 70 percent are over 22, the analysis showed, highlighting that lack of permanent housing “correlates with lower rates” of school completion, persistence, and academic credit.

“Many of the students do not have the financial means to cover university costs and do not have access to sufficient help,” Marlene Garcia, executive director of the Commission, said in the report.

Some of the conditions Garcia pointed out include “skipping some meals and sleeping in vehicles or otherwise going deeper and deeper into poverty, all in the name of seeking higher education”.

The survey also found that more than one-third of California students experienced both food insecurity and unstable housing situations within the month prior to being surveyed.

Thirty-five percent experienced one or more unsafe housing conditions.
According to the students, the average cost of housing in college dorms was $1,235 per month while the cost of off-campus housing was $1,244 per month.

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