Financial aid is a critical factor in helping unaccompanied homeless youth to enroll in college and to realize their post-secondary goals. Institutions of higher education, in collaboration with public schools and community agencies, can play a critical role in supporting unaccompanied homeless youth in their post-secondary endeavors. As Financial Aid Administrators, your assistance will help these youth to obtaining a college education which will enable them to break the cycle of poverty and move towards a brighter and more stable future.
The resources below will help your institution to comply with the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) of 2007, and support the McKinney-Vento Act’s intent of verifying unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) as independent students for purposes of financial aid, and assisting them in their post-secondary endeavors.
The CCRAA lists the following four authorized verifiers of ‘homeless unaccompanied youth’ status:
- A high school district homeless education liaison.
List of McKinney-Vento Homeless Education liaisons
- The director (or designee) of an emergency shelter program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Contact information for Colorado’s HUD regional office
- The director (or designee) of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program.
List of centers and programs in Colorado
- A college financial aid administrator.
- Application & Verification Guide (AVG) – excerpts pertaining to independent status for unaccompanied homeless youth
- To View the Full AVG
- FAFSA basics - The basic provisions for homeless unaccompanied youth in the FAFSA from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)
- Sample Letter to Verify Youth as Unaccompanied and Homeless for the FAFSA (NAEHCY)
- NAEHCY’s Unaccompanied Youth Toolkit* for Financial Aid Administrators
- Financial Aid and Income Tax - Basic information about how being an independent student for financial aid purposes affects a youth’s obligations to file income tax returns (NAEHCY)
- Making Student Status Determinations for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth: Eligibility Tool for Financial Aid Administrators (NAEHCY)
- Quiz on Unaccompanied Youth and the FAFSA (NAEHCY)
- NASFAA documents and articles pertaining to homeless youth
- NCHE/NASFAA Higher Education Awareness Posters in English or Spanish
National and Colorado Education Contacts for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
- National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) NAEHCY is a professional organization specifically dedicated to meet the educational needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. NAECHY provides professional development, resources, and training support for anyone and everyone interested in supporting the academic success of children and youth challenged by homelessness.
- National Center for Homeless Education at SERVE (NCHE) NCHE is the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance and information center in the area of homeless education
- National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) Lawyers working to prevent and end homelessness by servicing as the legal arm of the nationwide movement to end homelessness.
NAEHCY Higher Education Helpline
The NAEHCY Higher Education Helpline provides assistance with issues related to students experiencing homelessness accessing higher education.