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Homeless Higher Education - Administrators

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, 2014, Colorado school districts reported a total of 24,062 homeless students attending their schools; 1,958 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.

Resources on Your Campus

Higher Education Best Practice in Homeless Education

National and Colorado Higher Education Contacts for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

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


For more information please contact:
Kerry Wrenick at 303-866-6930 or e-mail: