Graduate Student Dissertations, Theses, Capstones, and Portfolios

Date of Award


Document Type


Granting Institution

Lynn University

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Jennifer Lesh

Second Advisor

Susan Saint John

Third Advisor

Kathleen Weigel


The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the lived experiences of homeless college students and their perseverance to graduate. College students are the hidden homeless population. Many homeless students remain in college in hopes of changing their situation and obtaining a job that will provide stability and financial security. This study explored how despite being homeless the participants exhibited a high level of self-efficacy to graduate. The themes that emerged from this study are family conflicts, resilience, and the motivation to graduate. Although the experience of being homeless was different, the participants shared a commonality of experiencing some form of family conflicts, which included insufficient parental support, the participants exhibiting resiliency, and the motivation to graduate. The findings of this research indicate that the participants had to continue to work hard in their academics despite being homeless, he/she had to maintain a positive perception at all times, and there was someone influential in his/her life that made a significant difference. Recommendations for colleges and universities is to establish on-campus resources specifically for students identified as formerly in foster care or homeless. In addition to collaborating with outside social service organizations. Furthermore, colleges should help build student self-confidence and create a mentorship program. Future studies should explore a quantitative study on students who were homeless in college and persevere to graduation. Future study should also explore the actual level of self-efficacy of students who have experienced homelessness and persisted to graduation.



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