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MASFAA 2013 October 6 th – 9 th, 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana What You Need to Know to Comply with Federal Policies for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.

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Presentation on theme: "MASFAA 2013 October 6 th – 9 th, 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana What You Need to Know to Comply with Federal Policies for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth."— Presentation transcript:

1 MASFAA 2013 October 6 th – 9 th, 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana What You Need to Know to Comply with Federal Policies for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

2 Presenters  Ginger Arvin, Homeless Liaison, Indianapolis Public Schools  Mark Delorey, Director of Financial Aid, Western Michigan University  Barbara Duffield, Policy Director, NAEHCY  Crystal Haslett, Homeless Liaison, Metropolitan School District of Washington Township  Cyekeia Lee, National Higher Education Liaison, NAEHCY

3 How Many Youth Experience Homelessness?  1.6 to 1.7 million youth run from home each year  Public schools enrolled 1,166,339 homeless children and youth in ◊ 10% increase over the previous year ◊ 71% increase since (recession)

4 Why Are Youth Homeless and On Their Own?  Physical and sexual abuse  Parental drug and alcohol abuse  Abandoned or neglected  Kicked out due to sexual orientation or pregnancy

5 Homeless Youth and Foster Care  Youth in foster care returned to unstable/unsafe arrangements  Youth adopted from foster care, but kicked out after age 18  Youth exit foster care without adequate housing and/or supports  Youth fear foster care and hide from it

6 Definitions HEA contains definitions of “unaccompanied” and “homeless” These definitions match the education subtitle of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act McKinney-Vento Act: a federal law that provides protections and services for homeless children and youth in the K-12 education system

7 Definitions, Continued Unaccompanied: not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian Homeless: lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing. Specifically includes sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason; motels; shelters; transitional housing

8 Why So Broad a Definition?  Shelters do not exist in suburban and rural areas  Existing shelters are full  Shelters have restrictive rules  Motels unavailable, or too expensive  Unaccompanied youth fear adult shelters  Shelters often have time limits  Youth may be unaware of alternatives, fleeing in crisis

9 Where Do Most Homeless Youth Live?  ED collects data annually from all public school districts In the School Year: 75% were sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason 15% were in shelters 5% were in motels 3% were unsheltered

10 Definition of Youth The McKinney-Vento Act, the Higher Education Act, and HUD’s Homeless Programs do not define “youth.” However, the U.S. Department of Education has defined “youth” in the notes of the FAFSA to mean age 21 or younger.

11 Independent Student Status Youth who are determined to be unaccompanied and homeless in the year in which they are submitting their FAFSA are independent students.

12 Who Makes Determinations?  School District homeless liaison  RHYA-funded shelter director or designee  HUD-funded shelter director or designee  College financial aid administrator

13 Application and Verification Guide ◊ Verification is not required unless there is conflicting information ◊ 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 based on the legal definitionsA documented interview (even via phone) is acceptable ◊ Should be done with discretion and sensitivity

14 Determination Process for FAAs ◊ This is not professional judgment or a dependency override; a determination must be made ◊ Two Step Process: Does the student meet the legal definition of homeless? Does the student meet the definition of unaccompanied?

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16 NAEHCY Survey: Liaisons

17 Perspective: Complexity Application & Verification Guide is clear Definitions are WAY easier than what we had for year-round Pell, Borrower-Based, UEH Verification is NOT required Conflicting information rules apply If the student has documentation from their district homeless liaison, or the director of a shelter for homeless or runaways, they are eligible

18 Perspective: Complexity If there is no documentation, FAO must determine based on the definition already covered UHY is not a PJ – Dependency Override Determine if the student meets the criteria We don’t Decide if the student should be independent Don’t ask Why “Didn’t get along vs. ….”

19 Perspective: False Positives All statuses have false positives Establish dialogue with the student If not UHY, then what? Would PJ be appropriate? Instruct them to apply as dependent!

20 Resources NAEHCY Higher Education Hotline: Website:  Cyekeia Lee, Higher Education Liaison,  FAFSA Tips for Unaccompanied Youth Without Stable Housing  Eligibility Tool/Questions for FAAs  Determination Template/Form  Helping Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Access College Toolkit


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