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Marcal Graham, Ed.D University of Maryland Educational Opportunity Center (UM-EOC)

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Presentation on theme: "Marcal Graham, Ed.D University of Maryland Educational Opportunity Center (UM-EOC)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Marcal Graham, Ed.D University of Maryland Educational Opportunity Center (UM-EOC)

2  UM-EOC is one of few TRIO programs based in the community situated in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Mission: Inform and assist adults interested in enrolling in and pursuing post-secondary education options and opportunities by providing admissions and financial aid applications, advice, counseling and related services.  Target population: Adults 19 and older who are low income and first generation potential college students, veterans, and individuals who reside in on of the targeted communities in Prince George’s County.  UM-EOC has been around for 16 years.

3  UM-EOC conducts extensive outreach in various communities in Prince George’s County.  Partnership with various social agencies in the county and PGCLS (Prince George’s County Library System) has made UM-EOC even more aware of the plight of homeless students in the county because of obvious financial limitations and living conditions. Sometimes we get referrals from other partnering organizations to our office, but you must go to areas homeless students frequent which happen to be libraries.

4  The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need- based grants to low-income undergraduate students.  Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1 st deadline is critical to students trying to pay for college.  The FAFSA is the form required of any student seeking federal financial aid, including student grants, work study, and loans. The application can also be used to apply for most state and some private financial aid. (

5  All students are eligible to apply for student financial assistance.  Students must apply each year in order to be considered for financial aid!!  Many students do not apply for financial aid because they believe that they are not eligible, or do not understand how to fill out necessary information on the FAFSA.  You can complete the FAFSA online. FAFSA information should be completed based on the information of the parent you lived with the most during the last 12 months.

6  If you are considered dependent, then your parent/s will need to have completed their tax information from the previous year in order to fill out information on the FAFSA.  If parents are unable to provide this information, complete as much of the FAFSA as possible, it will guide them to a drop-down menu that will say “will file” so continue filling out the FAFSA document.

7  Under the federal definition, an independent student is one who meets at least one of the following conditions: Is 24 years old Is a veteran of U.S. Armed Forces Is an orphan or a ward of the court Had legal dependents other than a spouse Is married Is a graduate or professional student Was in foster care at age 13 Is homeless or an Unaccompanied Minor as certified by an official government agency

8  The language on the FAFSA for those who fit the criteria for being homeless, “at any time on or after July 1, 2014, were you determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, as determined by a) your high school or district homeless liaison, b) the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or c) the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program.” Answer yes or no (

9  According to the FAFSA, “if you do not have a determination that you are homeless, but you believe you are an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, answer {no} to the FAFSA questions concerning being homeless. Then contact your financial aid office.” (

10  Each state educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education including preschool, as provided to other children and youth. (Subtitle B-Education for Homeless Children & Youths, Section 721)  McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act guarantees rights and services for homeless youth who are endanger of dropping out or school failure.

11  Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, an unaccompanied youth is, “a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. This means that the youth is not living with a parent or guardian, includes youth who are residing with a caregiver who does not have legal guardianship and youth are living on their own.” (National Center for Homeless Education at Serve, page 1).  Homeless children or youth are” individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and not be in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.”  (McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act)

12  In the law, Subtitle B of title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq) in the area of comparable service, “each homeless child or youth to be assisted under this subtitle shall be provided services comparable to services offered to other students in school selected under paragraph (3).”

13  Homeless: Lack fixed, regular, and adequate housing.  Self-supporting: When a student pays for his own living expenses including fixed, regular, and adequate living.  Unaccompanied: When a student is not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

14  According to FAFSA’s Application and Verification Guide, “ A student is considered homeless if he lacks a fixed, regular and adequate housing. It includes temporary living with other people because they had nowhere to go; living in substandard housing, living in motels, emergency or transitional shelters, abandoned buildings, camping grounds, cars, parks, living in dorms if the student would otherwise be homeless.” 

15  Documentation by recognized third party along with written documentation by student done on a case by case basis.  Who makes this determination?  School district homeless liaison/advocates  State homeless education coordinator  Public & Private Shelter Providers  College Access Programs (TRIO and GearUp)  High School Counselors

16  Under the McKinney-Vento Act, “every school must appoint a local homeless education liaison to serve as the key homeless education contact in the district.  The local liaison monitors the implementation of the McKinney-Vento Act within the district ensuring that eligible children are indentified and provided with rights and services to which they are entitled” (National Center for Homeless Education).

17  Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) have professionals onsite that assist high counselors. In addition, they conduct home visits to make determinations on the status of students.  These individuals are called PPW's (Pupil Personnel Workers) and their jobs are similar to social workers who monitor the needs of those individual homeless students who are having difficulty with attendance, appearance, grades and behaviors. 

18  What many transitional facilities provide in Prince George’s County:  Objective is: 1)Housing Stabilization, 2)Employment, 3)Transition to Permanent  Housing Counseling & Placement  Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Medical/Dental Counseling  Employment and Education Training Services  Life Skills  Financial Management  Follow-Up Counseling

19  Most transitional housing programs try to provide a safe structured living environment and resources for homeless individuals.  Many require you to be alcohol and drug free for at least 90 days.  Must not have any active warrants and not registered as a sex offender.  Most programs have a maximum time of stay not to exceed 24 months.

20  Are homeless students in the right mindset (i.e. ask questions and follow-through) to seek out help for the FAFSA? Can they rise above the stigma?  Lack of access to school records and other paperwork may be an issue.  Difficulty accumulating credits due to school mobility  What is the level of FAFSA assistance (i.e. high counselors and advocates) for homeless students at high and college level?  Lack of support from a caring adult and basic needs being met (i.e. hunger, fatigue, poor health).

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