Each year, more than a million young people in the United States experience homelessness; some of these young people, known as unaccompanied homeless youth, will face the challenges of homelessness while living on their own without the support of a caring adult. As of January, 2013, Colorado school districts reported a total of 23,680 homeless students attending their schools; 2,224 of these students are also unaccompanied.
Unaccompanied homeless youth face the same struggles as other young people: trying to do well in school, “fit in”, and figure out what their future will look like. Without adult guidance and support, however, they will face these struggles while also working to provide for their own livelihood.
Many of these youth hope to attend college, but wonder how they will pay tuition without help from their parents, who will sign important paperwork on their behalf, how they will juggle long work hours and schoolwork, and where they will live during the school year or where they will stay when the dormitories close during holiday and summer breaks.
Supporting these youth in obtaining a college education will enable them to break the cycle of poverty and move towards a brighter and more stable future. 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.
The resources below will help your institution to comply with the College Cost Reduction Act 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.
- Higher Education Contact List for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. This list provides contact information for the designated McKinney-Vento Single Points Of Contact (SPOCs) at public and private colleges in Colorado. SPOCs are safe and supportive college administrators, in the financial aid, student services or admissions offices, who are trained to help unaccompanied homeless youth to successfully navigate the college-going process.
- United Way’s 2-1-1 Referral Line – provides information about housing, emergency shelters, food and clothing banks in your area.
- College Preparation and Support Programs - Federal TRIO Programs. This 2-page brief from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) summarizes the requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) regarding TRIO Programs on college campuses.
- ACT & SAT Test Fee Waiver information:
- Resources For Unaccompanied Youth Experiencing Homelessness At My College – a sample form to list all the resources and contacts on your campus that can assist your homeless unaccompanied students.
Increasing access to higher education for unaccompanied homeless youth: Information for Colleges and University (PDF)
Helping Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Access College Financial Aid - a summary of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) as it applies to higher education.
National and Colorado Higher Education Contacts for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
National Higher Education Liaison for Homeless Youth
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)
The NAEHCY Higher Education Helpline provides assistance with issues related to students experiencing homelessness accessing higher education.
For more information please contact:
Dana Scott at (303) 866-6930 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org