Date of Award

Fall 12-2008

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Research

Committee Chair

Michael Ward

Committee Member 2

Andrea Wesley

Committee Member 3

James T. Johnson

Committee Member 4

David E. Lee


Across America, homeless students face a myriad of barriers that impede education and school access and success of homeless children. The purpose of this study was to determine the barriers to enrollment and school success for homeless students. The ultimate goal was to provide information to parents, teachers, administrators, and school districts that could serve as a vital resource tool in educating homeless students while removing barriers.

The participants consisted of 215 certified teachers, school administrators, and homeless liaisons in 23 school districts representing the populations that provide afterschool instruction to homeless students. The study was conducted in the spring of 2003 using a survey that consisted of demographic information, and questions were asked concerning the educational barriers to enrollment for homeless students and barriers to school success faced by homeless students.

Results of the data analysis revealed that 36.3% of respondents were at and over 41 years of age. A very large percentage were female (81.9%). Respondents were experienced educators for the most part, with 31.2% having over 25 years of teaching/administrative experience. Also, 43 % had worked in the after-school program for homeless students less than 4 years. The data indicated that a majority of the respondents' highest educational level obtained was a bachelor's or master's degree.

The findings of the study revealed that lack of transportation, lack of school records, and state guardianship/residency requirements were moderate barriers to school enrollment. Results also revealed that lack of parental involvement, frequent absenteeism, and frequent mobility were perceived as major barriers to school success.