In November 2010, the GAO released a report on student mobility entitled, “Many Challenges Arise in Educating Students who Change Schools Frequently.” The report looks at the characteristics of highly mobile students, the characteristics of schools with a high rate of student mobility, challenges for schools, and the key federal programs used to serve this population.
The GAO found that highly mobile students (those that move 4 or more times before high school) are more likely to be poor, African-American, and from families that do not own their home or have a father present in the home. These families were also more likely to live below the federal poverty level than less mobile students (moved 2 or fewer times before high school). Highly mobile students are also much more likely to receive services such as free or reduced lunch (NSLP), SNAP, and TANF as well.
In addition to the characteristics of highly mobile students, the GAO looked at characteristics of schools with the highest rate of student mobility. Schools with high rates of mobility:
- had larger percentages of at-risk eighth graders
- had larger percentages of eighth graders eligible for Title I assistance
- were more often eligible for Title I school-wide programs
- were more likely to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- had larger percentages of eighth graders receiving special education services, with limited English proficiency, and having higher rates of absenteeism.
To access the entire GAO report including sections on the challenges schools face when serving highly mobile students and the federal programs they use to meet student needs, click here.