‘I didn’t know what strong was until it was required’: factors that promote retention among homeless students in higher education

Mulrenan, Patrick, Atkins, Julia and Cox, Simon (2018) ‘I didn’t know what strong was until it was required’: factors that promote retention among homeless students in higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 44 (2). pp. 273-284. ISSN 1469-9486

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Abstract / Description

This study examines the experience of homeless university students. A focus group and in-depth interviews were conducted among 16 homeless students at a university in London to determine the factors that enable them to remain at university despite being homeless. Homelessness has been increasing in the UK since 2010, particularly in London. Combined with the widening participation initiative, which encourages access to Higher Education for more disadvantaged communities, this means that increasing numbers of students may face homelessness during their studies. The study demonstrates considerable personal resilience among homeless students. These students find it hard to fully engage with other students, or with the wider university experience. Most were in fact too embarrassed to tell their university friends that they were homeless. Key factors that promoted resilience were sense of purpose, personal determination, and the relationship with their families. The critical relationship was, however, with their children. Decisions to attend and remain at university were based not on having a role model, but on the desire to provide a positive role model to their children. The study also acknowledges wider structural factors; homelessness is influenced by national and international trends outside the influence of individual and institutional actors.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Crossref via Jisc Publications Router.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Higher education, homelessness, students, widening participation, resilience
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 360 Social problems & services; associations
300 Social sciences > 370 Education
Department: School of Social Professions (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
SWORD Depositor: Pub Router
Depositing User: Pub Router
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2018 11:07
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2020 16:27
URI: https://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/4031


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