Humphrey School News—October 27, 2017

Humphrey School's Maria Hanratty Receives University Grand Challenge Grant to Study Student Homelessness

For the thousands of children in Minnesota who are homeless, getting to school each day can be a struggle. And succeeding in school can be even more difficult, meaning those students are less likely to graduate from high school, attend college, or get a good-paying job.

With support from a University of Minnesota Grand Challenges Grant, new research by Maria Hanratty, associate professor of social policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, will take a closer look at the growing problem of student homelessness.

The $540,000 award will fund a study Hanratty is co-leading with Ann Masten of the Institute of Child Development and Eric Grumdahl of the Minnesota Department of Education.

Working with state and local entities, the University’s team will design and implement a collaborative research program to evaluate the State of Minnesota’s “Homework Starts with Home,” a new statewide initiative that supports local efforts to address student homelessness.

More than 9,500 Minnesota students enrolled in K-12 public or charter schools were homeless in 2016; it’s a statewide problem, with homeless students reported in 300 school districts and 77 counties. Students experiencing homelessness are often chronically absent, struggle in school, and are less likely to be successful in the workforce.

The award is one of eight announced by Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson this week, in the second phase of the University’s “Driving Tomorrow” research investment to address critical challenges facing Minnesota and the world. The grants total $2.96 million over two years.

Phase 1 grant awards totaling $3.6 million were announced a year ago, and nine Humphrey School faculty members are participating in those projects. 

Hanratty’s research project fits under the University’s Grand Challenge focus on fostering just and equitable communities.

Hanratty specializes in the economics of poverty, child and family policy, and health economics. She holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University, and has been at the Humphrey School since 1998.

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