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Presentation on theme: "BEING THEIR ADVOCATE: HELPING HOMELESS YOUTH ACCESS HIGHER EDUCATION College Connections for Student Success February 2014."— Presentation transcript:


2 Meet NAEHCY The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) is a national grassroots membership association that connects educators, parents, advocates, researchers, and service providers to ensure school enrollment, attendance and overall success for children and youth whose lives have been disrupted by the lack of safe, permanent, and adequate housing.  Website: http://www.naehcy.org

3 How Many Youth Experience Homelessness? 1.2 million children/youth Public schools 1,168,354 homeless children/youth in 2012-13 – 10% increase over last year – 24% increase overall since the 2009-2010 school year – 44 states (83%) reported increases 2012-2013 FAFSA Data – 58,158 unaccompanied homeless youth nationwide – 1,735 unaccompanied homeless youth in GA – 57% increase from the 2011-2012 academic year

4 Paths to Being “On Our Own”  Family conflict: blended family issues, pregnancy, sexual activity or orientation, school problems, substance abuse  Abuse and/or neglect within the home  Parental incarceration, illness, hospitalization, or death  Lack of space in temporary situations or shelter policies that prohibit adolescent boys

5 Paths Continued  Child welfare issues  Running away from a placement  Aging out of the system  Significant correlation between involvement with the child welfare system and experiencing homelessness as an adult

6 But the Student Choose to Leave  A youth can be eligible regardless of whether he/she was asked to leave the home or chose to leave  Sometimes there is “more than meets the eye” for youth’s home life situations  Educators do not need to understand or agree with all aspects of a student’s home life to comply with federal educational mandates

7 Eligibility for McKinney-Vento Rights & Services  Children or youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including:  Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason  Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to the lack of adequate alternative accommodations  Living in emergency or transitional shelters  Awaiting foster care placement

8 Eligibility Continued  Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live  Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or a similar setting  Migratory children living in the above circumstances  Unaccompanied youth living in the above circumstances For more info, see NCHE’s Determining Eligibility brief at

9 Fixed, Regular, Adequate  Fixed: Stationary, permanent, and not subject to change  Regular: Used on a predictable, routine, or consistent basis (e.g. nightly); consider the relative permanence  Adequate: Sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments Can the student go to the SAME PLACE (fixed) EVERY NIGHT (regular) to sleep in a SAFE AND SUFFICIENT SPACE (adequate)?

10 Why the Broad Definition?  Shelters are often full and turn away youth  No shelters in many suburban and rural areas  Eligibility rules of often exclude unaccompanied minors  Youth may fear adult shelters  Shelters often have time limits  Youth may be unaware of alternatives, fleeing in crisis, living in over-crowded, temporary, and sometimes unsafe environments  Shelters often are a last resort after all other possibilities are exhausted

11 Unaccompanied Students Under MV  2-step process to determine eligibility 1)Does the student’s living arrangement meet the McKinney- Vento Act’s definition of homeless? 2)Once homelessness is determined, is the student unaccompanied?  Unaccompanied  “not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian”

12 Barriers to Higher Education for Unaccompanied Homeless Lack of access to parental financial information and support Lack of financial means to live independently and safely Inability to be financially self-sufficient once enrolled in college Limited housing options, especially in small towns or rural areas Struggling to balance school and other responsibilities Lack of adult guidance and support Lack of information about available support systems

13 Poll Unaccompanied homeless youth may or may not feel comfortable giving sufficient details to enrollment staff to provide an adequate understanding of their home life. Would you discuss personal issues with an authority figure you have just met?

14 Financial Aid and FAFSA Basics  Expected family contribution (EFC): Families are expected to contribute to higher education costs to the extent they are able  FAFSA  Cannot be filed before January 1 prior to the academic year in which student seeks to enroll  For dependent students, income and asset information required for both the student and a parent; parental signature required  For independent students, no parental signature nor income and asset information is needed 101

15 UHY and the FAFSA

16 2012-13 ONLINE FAFSA

17 College Cost Reduction And Act (CCRAA)  Independent student status for unaccompanied homeless youth and self-supporting youth at risk of homelessness Can apply for financial aid without parental signature or consideration of parental income Must be determined by: Local liaison RHYA-funded shelter director or designee HUD-funded shelter director or designee College financial aid administrator

18 Verification of Status Form  Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Documentation of Independent Student Status for the FAFSA  Can be used by any of the four verifiers  Copy should be on file with the school, one with student, and one sent to college/university  Valid for one academic year

19 Application and Verification Guide  Updated Application and Verification Guide released in 2013  Borrows language from NCHE’s Determining Eligibility brief  Student can use the college’s administrative address as his/her mailing address  UHY may be 21 or younger or still enrolled in high school on the date he/she signs the FAFSA  Dependency override required for 22-23 year olds  24 or older is automatic independent status

20 Application and Verification Guide  FAA verification  Not required unless there is conflicting information  Documented interview (even via phone) is acceptable  Should be done with discretion and sensitivity Some information may be confidential (e.g. protected by doctor-patient privilege) Child welfare reports are not necessary  Guidance recommends consulting with local liaisons, State Coordinators, NAEHCY, school counselors, clergy, etc.

21 Role of the Financial Aid Administrator (FAA)  According to the AVG, if a student does not have, and cannot get, documentation from a local liaison, RHYA provider, or HUD provider, a FAA must make a determination of homeless/unaccompanied status  This is not an “exercise of professional judgment” or a “dependency override” for youth 21 and younger; this is determining the independent student status of an unaccompanied homeless youth

22 Campus Support Services College Student Financial Aid AdmissionsRegistrar Health Services Counseling Services Police & Public Safety Residence Life Academic Support

23 Community Support Services College Student UHY DHSETVShelterMedicaidCMH Public Assistance

24 from Foster Care DHSETVYITMedicaidCMH Public Assistance College Student Financial Aid AdmissionsRegistrar Health Services Counseling Services Police & Public Safety Residence Life Academic Support Navigating Multiple Systems

25 Best Practices on Campus  Establish coordination between financial aid offices, student support services, and campus housing  Open a food and clothing bank on campus  Consider housing options for homeless students when dorms close:  Leaving one residence hall open  Allow UHY to stay in housing for international students  Provide a list of “host homes” in the community  Establish Single Points of Contact (SPOCS) in colleges/universities to help eliminate barriers to higher education access

26 Best Practices on Campus for SPOC’s  SPOC’s can come from any office on campus  Assist students with the following  Admissions  Financial Aid  Academic Advising Remediation, Tutoring  Student Life Housing, Counseling Center, Health Center, TRIO Programs (Talent Search, Upward Bound, EOC, GEAR-UP), Learning Disabilities Services, Life Skills, Financial Literacy, Mentoring Programs

27 Best Practices Continued  Connect students with federal and community resources that they may be eligible for  Medicaid  Supplemental Security Income (SSI)  Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF)  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)  Runaway and Homeless Youth Act Funded Shelters (RHYA)  Administration for Children and Families

28 Statewide Networks  Convene a meeting with local stakeholders from the McKinney-Vento K-12, Foster Care, Higher Education, and RHYA/HUD shelter communities as well as other local service providers and advocates  Allow each to share knowledge about their area of expertise  UHY and independent student definitions  Financial aid  Campus and community resources  Build an action plan for serving UHY that makes sense for your community

29 Statewide Networks  Four Established Statewide Networks  Colorado, North Carolina, Kentucky, New Hampshire  Have Single Points of Contact (SPOC’s) at each college/university  Six New Statewide Networks  Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Florida  Upcoming Networks  Indiana, Montana, New York, New Jersey, Virginia

30 Colorado Network Example  Consists of stakeholders from:  Colorado Department of Education  K-12 McKinney-Vento Liaisons  Higher Education personnel from Financial Aid, Admissions, and Student Support Services  Collaborates to streamline the verification process between K- 12 and higher education  Has established Single Points of Contact (SPOCS) in all CO colleges/universities to help eliminate barriers to higher education access

31 Colorado Network Continued  Barriers addressed included waiving application fees, deferring housing deposits, and connecting students with community resources  In 2011 the Colorado taskforce along with the nonprofit homeless service provider Family Tree established private funding to assist UHY.  SPOCs apply for funding through Family Tree to provide student IDs, bedding, toiletry items, and other basic needs not covered by other sources

32 LeTendre Scholarship How do students apply?  the-fund the-fund  Applicants must submit:  1) A completed application form; 2) An essay about the impact of homelessness on the their lives and their desire to attend college (500-1,000 words)  3) An official school transcript  4) A minimum of one letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, or other adult who can speak to the applicant's qualifications and experiences  Deadline to apply for $2000 scholarship is June 2014

33 NAEHCY Resources NAEHCY Higher Education Hotline: 855-446-2673  Cyekeia Lee, Higher Education Liaison,  NAEHCY College Access and Success Toolkit,   Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Toolkits, FAFSA Week:  NAEHCY Podcast Series   FAFSA Tips for Unaccompanied Youth Without Stable Housing  Helping Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Access College Financial Aid Brief

34 Additional Resources  National Center for Homeless Education   National Resources Center for Permanency and Family Connections   National College Access Network   National Network for Youth 

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