More City Students Affected by Foreclosures

The number of public school students affected by foreclosure is growing, according to a study by New York University's Furman Center for Real Estate and Public Policy. More than 18,500 students were affected in the 2006-2007 school year -- a 59 percent increase from three years earlier.

Most of the children were black and lived in homes and apartments in Northern Brooklyn and Southeast Queens. That's not surprising given that those middle-class neighborhoods have been most affected by the wave of foreclosures and they have a high proportion of black residents. But black students made up only 33 percent of public school children that year and constituted 57 percent of all students living in properties that entered foreclosure.

Children living in homes and apartments affected by foreclosures were also disproportionately enrolled in a handful of schools says Ingrid Gould Ellen, a public policy professor at NYU and co-director of the Furman Center. She says these schools also tend to be lower performing on average.

"The fact that these children who are living in foreclosed buildings are concentrated in particular schools means the schools are probably going to be experiencing stress and difficulties in trying to help these children adjust," she predicts. However, she cautions that it's too early to know how the schools were affected.

The Furman Center looked at Department of Education data from the 2006-2007 school year and its next report, to be released late this year, will take a closer look at student mobility and which schools those students attend. Gould Ellen says that while foreclosure rates have been studied before, few researchers have looked at the collateral costs for children -- who may be forced to leave their homes, communities and schools.