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Homeless and No College Degree - How to Get Help

Updated on June 24, 2014

If you are homeless with no college degree but feel you could successfully study, graduate, and have a bright future in the profession of your choice (given the chance), here's a starting point for formulating a plan.

Have you explored the options available for financial aid for students? Are you aware of just how many scholarships you could potentially apply for?

Perhaps you are homeless but still attending school and confident you can graduate from senior high school if you apply yourself and get a few lucky breaks. Maybe you're a single parent with a dream of returning to study, but no way of affording college.

Being homeless is an obstacle - but that's all it is. (Where we would be if we all considered every obstacle represented the end of the road?) Take the time to look for solutions. Sooner or later you'll figure out a way to go over, under or around any obstacle you face in life.

Let's take a look at a few options in the US that might suit your personal circumstances. If you are homeless today, try making a plan for obtaining a college degree -and a great job - in the future.



Apply for Coca-Cola Scholarships

Coca Cola Scholars are selected from 50 US states, so if you are an American resident in your final year of high school you may be eligible for a Coca Cola scholarship.

Coca Cola currently distributes $3 million in scholarship awards each year, to 150 Coca-Cola Scholars. Each scholarship is worth $20,000.

The company insists "Coca-Cola remains committed to keeping our scholarships meaningful and relevant", which is why their financial structure has been increased. It accommodates the dramatic increase in the cost of education at a four year institution over the past decade.

Now if the company is committed to 'keeping our scholarships meaningful and relevant', that must mean their door is open to homeless students.

There is no denying that homelessness is 'meaningful and relevant' in the US today.


Can a homeless student apply for Coca Cola scholarships?

I have no direct knowledge of Coca Cola's policy towards homeless students, but after visiting the website of Coca-Cola's Scholar Foundation, it appears to me that homeless students could be quite well placed to be successful in their application for Coca Cola Scholarships. Here's why ...

The official website says: 'Coca-Cola System believes that investing in students who are leaders, both academically and in service to others, will result in positive, lasting change and sustainable communities.' They hope to attract young people with a 'commitment to make the world a better place.'

If you are successful in obtaining a Coca Cola Scholarship, you are expected to help 'change the world' and 'create an enduring legacy'. If you are a high school student with a fire in your belly and a passion to make the world a better place because of your experience being homeless, I suspect you could be a perfect candidate.

A Coca Cola Scholar is supposed to begin their 'journey of academic excellence, positive leadership and dedication to service' while still in high school. I understand that it can be difficult to find the time, space and opportunity to study and complete assignments if you are homeless, but if you are managing to perform well academically in school (good on you, by the way!), you are off to a good start.

So how can you address the other criteria of a Coca Cola Scholarship?


If you believe graduating will give you a better future, don't let being homeless stand in your way. :)
If you believe graduating will give you a better future, don't let being homeless stand in your way. :) | Source

Homeless and No College Degree - What chance do I have?

There's no guarantee that a college degree will prevent you from being homeless in the future, but it certainly holds lots of promise and bucketloads of hope. For starters, a college degree opens many more employment opportunities than you can reach without one. And, in theory at least, your future income should be higher.

So what chance do you have of presenting yourself (and your troubled, homeless life) in a positive way to secure a scholarship that leads to a college degree? I suggest you have a good chance, if you look at what you have achieved and the obstacles you have faced - and overcome - to continue your education and remain in school despite homelessness.

Leadership potential, as presented by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for instance, is not necessarily demonstrated in academics, but in 'dedication and actions that positively impact others' - from an early age..

Step back from the emotional turmoil and self-doubt you may be feeling, and make a list of all the ways you have demonstrated leadership and helpfulness and given service in your young life. You may well find your list of achievements is much more impressive than kids your age who live at home with mommy and daddy and do little more than mow a neighbor's lawn once in a blue moon.


Coca-Cola's Scholars Foundation might be perfect for a homeless student seeking a college degree

Think about it. Here's what their website says ...

Our Mission

To provide scholarship programs and lifelong enrichment opportunities in support of exceptional peoples’ thirst for knowledge and their desire to make a difference in the world.

Our Vision

To develop an influential community of socially-conscious and service-minded leaders, connected by Coca−Cola, who positively shape the world.


You have to be in high school or 'home schooled' (but maybe 'parent schooled' might be the same thing) and gearing up to graduate from high school.

If you are getting good academic results at high school despite being homeless, I suggest you follow this link to some hints about what makes a good application ... and start making notes about what makes you unique and perfect for one of their scholarships!!

Don't wait until the last minute. Start making notes now, and make changes to your life so you will have an even better application when you lodge it! :)


Scholarships for Single Parents

Homeless parents determined to get their lives on track might choose to get an education and a better job that allows them to provide for themselves and their children in the future.

Once you make the decision to pursue a brighter future, you need to devote as much energy as you can to making it happen.

A range of scholarships are available for single parents. I am providing a helpful link that lists a number of them.

If you are actively trying to further your education, you may find that suddenly things start falling into place. Perhaps you have a family member who will let you stay, and help with childcare. Or you might need to make contact with the college you hope to attend, and ask them for information and ideas they might have to help you.

Start talking to people about your hopes and dreams. Networking can achieve miracles. :)


If one of your parents has died

If the death of a parent has contributed to your homelessness and inability to attend college, you could apply for the Life Lessons Scholarship Program.

The main part of this application is the submission of either a 500-word essay OR a 3-minutes video discussing 'how the death of your parent or guardian affected your life financially and emotionally.'

I am providing a link to a clear explanation of what is required, and what this scholarship provides.

Many Other Scholarships You Could Apply For

If you need financial aid to achieve your dream of attending college and graduating with a college degree, you'll have to get serious about applying for as many scholarships as possible.

There are lots of different types of scholarships available, with vastly different criteria for selection.

Take a look at this site, and you'll find they have some most unusual ways of winning a scholarship. For one, you must describe yourself as a flavor of icecream. For another, you simply have to write a funny story. If you are creative in your application, you might win. Certainly worth trying. :)

Applying for Educational Grants and Financial Aid in the USA

Don't give up on your dream for a college degree

Before you throw your hands in the air saying "I'm homeless, I'll never have a college degree," I'd like you take a look at this article written by another hubber.

She explains how her granddaughter won 18 scholarships to help her study. Yes, that's right, 18 scholarships in one year. She is a teacher now, and her family was so pleased they even established their own scholarship.

Never give up. Follow the dream. Create a new future.

Good luck.


© 2014 LongTimeMother

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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Great advice for someone who wants to do this. You're giving not only advice but also hope and encouragement for those who might have given up.

      Superb hub! Ann

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I hope the valuable encouragement and advice you are providing will reach the audience who needs it most. It's important not to give up hope.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I love your approach to helping those in need of help furthering education. There are so many avenues one can pursue and you have mentioned a few here. I remember years ago when I first applied the restrictions for scholarships were numerous. I am so glad they have changed those rules to allow for the diversity of our society.

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