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Help Connect College-Bound Students Experiencing Homelessness with College Starter Kits

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) Homeless Education Program (HEP) is seeking your support to provide College Starter Kits to college-bound high school students experiencing homelessness.

Since 2016, OSSE has purchased items to create college care packages for students experiencing homelessness accepted and enrolled in college classes for fall and spring in the forthcoming academic year. Recipients can receive travel luggage, a laptop with Microsoft programs, school supplies, a backpack, towel sets, personal hygiene products, and other essential items to support their transition to college. OSSE also hosts a send-off workshop and reception in which students receive these college care packages, words of encouragement from OSSE staff, information regarding financial aid and scholarship opportunities, contacts for on-campus support, and techniques for self-advocacy to support their educational success.

To be eligible to apply, applicants must be a 2021-22 school year high school student from DC public or public charter schools. Their homeless liaison must identify eligible applicants as receiving McKinney-Vento support in their school database. Applicants must submit the following:

  • A completed application;
  • An essay consisting of 1,000-1,500 words about the impact of experiencing homelessness on your life and desire to attend college (see essay evaluation criteria listed below);
  • A minimum of one letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, or another adult who can speak to your educational qualifications (e.g., Advanced Placement classes, honor roll selection, academic improvement, standardized tests, academic certificates, or awards) and life experiences; and
  • Proof of acceptance into a college or university (e.g., acceptance letter, class schedule, or housing confirmation letter).

Students can submit the required documents via email to Tasheen Stallings at [email protected] or via the 2022 OSSE College Starter Kit Opportunity Online Application. All submissions are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

Please note that this opportunity is available to recipients until supplies are no longer available.