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Fayetteville Shelter Helps Homeless Attend College

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FAYETTEVILLE — Over the past decade, the Coalition Services to the Homeless has helped thousands of people in Fayetteville get back on their feet.

Now, six men in the program are taking another big step by taking advantage of a free college education.

Chris Ross, 28, is a divorced father, a recovering alcoholic and he is homeless. This fall, he also became a student at Fayetteville State University.

"Just thinking about it sometimes, it's overwhelming because of where I've been," Ross said.

"These folks, they've suffered and struggled mightily to get to this place," coalition director Mary Hendrickson said.

"I think everyone deserves an opportunity," said Walter Palmer, an outreach coordinator at Fayetteville State's Educational Opportunity Center.

Palmer said that one of the biggest challenges for students like Ross is getting past the stereotypes.

"A person just doesn't become homeless, there's some situation or some type of circumstance that have thrown them off track, that could happen to [any] one of us," he said.

The Educational Opportunity Center is open to all adults who wish to continue their education. Those who qualify can go to any college in the country.

Most of the tuition is paid for by scholarships and grants.

There are many resources available for homeless adults who want to go to college. Some may qualify for homeless scholarships or the Pell Grant. Homeless veterans may also be eligible for financial aid.


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