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Homeless Higher Education - Single Points of Contact (SPOCs)

Talk with your counselor if you are currently a high school student, or McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Liaison. 

List of McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Liaisons.

Each public 2 and 4-year college and private 4-year college in Colorado has a designated staff member called the McKinney-Vento Single Point of Contact to assist you with all your questions about that particular college. List of college contacts. Call or email your questions to the person listed at the college you plan to attend.

Who are SPOC's?

Single Points of Contact (SPOCs) are designated safe and supportive college administrators who are committed to helping unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) successfully navigate the college-going process. SPOCs implement a streamlined process on their campuses to help with the UHY determination for financial aid purposes, and to facilitate communication and quick referral among campus departments and services to assist unaccompanied homeless college students to reach their higher education goals.

Why was the SPOC model developed?

The Colorado Taskforce on Higher Education for Unaccompanied Youth Experiencing Homelessness was formed to lead a collaborative effort bringing together K-12 McKinney-Vento public school district liaisons, higher education financial aid, admissions and student support services staff, as well as other public/private partners such a pre-collegiate agencies, scholarship organizations and funding partners.  As a result, in 2009 colleges and universities across the state of Colorado appointed higher education homeless liaisons, also known as “single points of contact” (SPOCS), to help youth successfully matriculate into higher education and address barriers to enhance academic advancement.  Multiple barriers have been addressed including  the waiving of application and other fees at higher education institutions (when possible), changing the timing of housing deposits so that students can pay when financial aid is received by the student, and connecting students with other community and higher education resources such as financial literacy, peer support groups, food banks, etc. 

Colorado’s SPOC model was the first of its kind in the nation:now, ten other states are working to replicate Colorado’s model. The State of Colorado truly believes that the asset of an education is a key poverty reduction strategy, and is a leading approach in breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness in our state.

The information and 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 assisting unaccompanied homeless youth in their post-secondary endeavors.  Thank you for your hard work and dedication in serving unaccompanied homeless youth in our state.

    1. Read the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Tip Sheet for Colorado Higher Education McKinney-Vento Single Points of Contact (SPOCs).
    2. Read about Special Cases from the Application and Verification Guide (AVG) that pertain to independent status for unaccompanied homeless youth for the purpose of financial aid. Access the full AVG 
    3. Read and become familiar with the UHY Documentation of Independent Status for the FAFSA form.


National and Colorado Higher Education Contacts for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Cyekeia Lee
National Higher Education Liaison for Homeless Youth
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)

NAEHCY Higher Education Helpline
1-855-446-2673 (toll-free)
The NAEHCY Higher Education Helpline provides assistance with issues related to students experiencing homelessness accessing higher education.

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth website

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)

The Family Tree’s Higher Education Fund for Homeless Youth

The Family Tree’s Higher Education Fund for Homeless Youth was launched in August, 2011 to address barriers for homeless youth transitioning into higher education in Colorado, resulting from work by the Colorado Taskforce on Higher Education for Unaccompanied Youth Experiencing Homelessness. Family Tree administers the fund which is made possible by the generous donations of: an anonymous source ($8,000); in-kind staff support from Family Tree ($1,000); and gift card fee waivers from Western Union ($1,000).

SPOCs can complete and submit an application for this special one-time fund to help college students who are experiencing homelessness to purchase necessary items for school.  The Fund provides a maximum $100 gift card for students to purchase any of these items:

Allowable Expenditures:

    • School Supplies
    • Student ID’s
    • Vital Documents
    • Sheet Sets
    • Hygiene Items
    • Basic Need Items <$100

The application is very quick and easy, and you can request funding for more than one student at a time.  Access the application

You may want to have your students submit a written statement explaining what they need this funding for (in line with the “Allowable Expenditures” listed above).  You may also ask other college administrators and faculty to refer students to you.  Your request will be processed by Family Tree within 3-days, and the gift card will be mailed directly to you to give to the student.

Please take advantage of this great funding resource for your students who are experiencing homelessness.  If you have questions about Family Tree, please contact Public Relations and Marketing at (303) 422-2133.

More information about The Family Tree

Scholarships for Homeless Youth

LeTendre Scholarship

LeTendre scholarship funds are available to students who are homeless or who have been homeless during their K-12 school attendance, and who have demonstrated average or higher than average achievement.  The LeTendre Fund is administered by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.

The scholarship is a one-time award of $2,000. Additional financial support may be available for scholars in subsequent years.

Students who have not reached their 21st birthday by September 1, 2014, and who have completed no more than one year of college are eligible to apply. Applicants may be high school seniors, students enrolled in a GED or other alternative education program, or recent graduates/GED recipients. If you are in high school and not yet enrolled in a post-secondary program, the committee will hold your scholarship for you pending your enrollment.

Application Deadline: June 19, 2015 View the LeTendre Scholarship Application

To receive an application via e-mail or fax, please contact Patricia Popp, NAEHCY LeTendre Chair, at (757) 221-7776 or

Give Us Your Poor/Horatio Alger Scholarship

The Horatio Alger Colorado Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to students in the State of Colorado who have exhibited integrity and perseverance in overcoming personal adversity and who aspire to pursue higher education.

College Access Scholarship

$2,500 scholarships are offered to help students access and complete higher education. The College Access Scholarship will be awarded to up to 300 eligible students to use toward their higher education expenses.


A free, general scholarship search engine.

College Board

A free, general scholarship search engine.

Other Resources

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)

NAEHCY is a professional organization specifically dedicated to meeting 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.

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