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Wayne State University's Old Main Building. Daily Detroit File Photo.
Wayne State University's Old Main Building. Daily Detroit File Photo.

College students deal with many pressures while in college. In addition to finding a way to pay for classes and dealing with the endless papers and reading assignments there’s one pressure that is not so obvious to see, homelessness.

In addition to everything else, some students also have to worry about where they will place their head at night to sleep at night.

“Without safe and reliable housing, or other basic needs being met, students cannot be successful in college,” said Kate Levin Markel, president of the McGregor Fund. “We are happy to support this initiative at Wayne State as it works to ensure that poverty and hardship do not stand in the way of earning a four-year degree.”

This $200,000 grant from the McGregor Fund will help develop a comprehensive plan for students who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, as well as those experiencing difficulty in meeting basic non-academic needs.

It will also allow the university to investigate and respond to student homelessness and related needs such as health care, financial planning, and food insecurity on campus.

“We knew the issue was bigger than we anticipated, so we will embark on a full-scale research and information gathering effort,” said David Strauss, Dean of Students at Wayne State. “We want all of our students to succeed and that means we need to do more from the non-academic side, too. The support of the McGregor Fund helps us do that.”

The McGregor Fund grant will be disperse among two programs:

  • Wayne State’s Transition to Independence Program (TIP) (a program located in the School of Social Work and seeks to improve college access and graduation rates of students from foster care background)
  • Helping Individuals Go Higher (HIGH) program, and a committee working on an intensive planning and assessment effort to create a stronger network of student support services and determine the full extent of student need. This multidisciplinary Student Needs Committee will collaborate with on- and off-campus partners to address the issue with The Dean of Students Office leading the planning phase.

“TIP students are remarkable and show us that they can succeed academically when they are provided services that allow them to prioritize studies over worrying about how to obtain basic needs such as where they will sleep or how they will eat on a given night,” said Angelique Day, assistant professor of social work and TIP director. “Funding from the McGregor Fund will allow us to expand program capacity while providing critical support to our students that have aged-out of the foster care system.”

Earlier this year, rapper Big Sean donated $25,000 to the cause of homeless Wayne State students.