Even with free community college, a lack of stable housing makes obtaining a degree or certificate is extremely challenging. At Tacoma Community College in Washington State, 74 percent of homeless students drop out within their first year. To improve education outcomes, the school partnered with Tacoma’s Housing Authority to launch the College Housing Assistance Program, offering rental subsidies to college students burdened by homelessness or near-homelessness.
Assistance amounts to approximately half of a student’s monthly rent and continues as long as the student makes adequate progress toward a degree. If the student completes the degree within three years, assistance lasts until graduation. The Tacoma Housing Authority is also extending subsidies to students who have exited the criminal justice system and wish to continue their education at Tacoma Community College.