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ILASFAA: 2014 College Access for Homeless Youth Aesha Williams, Diversity Issues Andrew Viscariello, College Awareness & Preparation.

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Presentation on theme: "ILASFAA: 2014 College Access for Homeless Youth Aesha Williams, Diversity Issues Andrew Viscariello, College Awareness & Preparation."— Presentation transcript:

1 ILASFAA: 2014 College Access for Homeless Youth Aesha Williams, Diversity Issues Andrew Viscariello, College Awareness & Preparation

2 2014 Agenda  Background  Our role as Financial Aid Administrators  Determining student status  Case studies

3 2014 BACKGROUND  McKinney-Vento Act  College Cost Reduction & Access Act (CCRAA) of 2007  1.3 million homeless youth (National Runway Switchboard, 2013)

4 2014 ROLE OF FINANCIAL AID  Determine student’s status - May require FA determination - UHY is NOT a dependency override/PJ (FSA HB 2014-15 AVG-127)  Dependency override or unaccompanied youth determination based on student’s age - Students age 21 and must be updated as an unaccompanied homeless determination - Students age 22-23 are a dependency override (they are not considered “youth”)

5 2014 WHO IS INDEPENDENT?  Unaccompanied homeless youth  Those at risk of homelessness  Self-supporting youth

6 2014 CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING HOMELESSNESS  Student must “lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence”  This includes living in a motel, campground, or even with others in their home  Any living space not designed

7 2014 CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING UNACCOMPANIED STATUS  Unaccompanied youth are those who are not in the care of their parent/legal guardian  May have documentation as such, or the financial aid office may interview student

8 2014 SAMPLE QUESTIONS— “FIXED” HOUSING  Is this a permanent arrangement?  Where would you go if you couldn’t stay where you are?  Do you plan to move out soon, or could the owners ask you to leave?  Why are you staying in your current place?

9 SAMPLE QUESTIONS— “REGULAR” HOUSING Sample Questions:  Do you stay in the same place every night?  Do you have a key to the place you are living?  Do you move around frequently?  How long have you lived in your current location? How long do you intend to stay?

10 2014 SAMPLE QUESTIONS— “ADEQUATE” HOUSING  How many people are living in the home? In each room?  Does the home have heating, electricity, and running water?  Does the home provide shelter against the weather—is it safe, warm and dry?  Can you come and go as you please?

11 ASK:  What has been your living situation for the past year?  What is your living situation now?  Is your high school aware of your living situation?  Why aren’t you living with your parents?  How did you become homeless?  What proof do you have?  How long were you in foster care (if applicable)?  Why were you in the system? AVOID: COUNSELING TIPS FOR WORKING WITH HOMELESS YOUTH

12 2014 Case study 1: Jose  Jose is 20 years old and has lived in the dorms for two years  His other was evicted from her apartment and lives with his aunt in another state  During summer, he lived with a friend’s family for a few weeks, then worked as a camp counselor; a coworker allowed Jose to live with him until the dorms reopened  Jose asked his mother for her information for the FAFSA; she said she didn’t have the information, couldn’t help him, and he’s on his own now.

13 2014 Case study 1: Questions Does Jose qualify as a homeless unaccompanied youth? Yes. Jose does not and has not had a fixed, regular nighttime residence. He is not living in the custody of his mother, and is unable to do so; he would be homeless if not for living in the dorm.

14 2014 Case study 1: Questions (continued) How can we verify Jose’s status?  Jose was not in a shelter, is not a high school student, and did not experience homelessness in high school  The Financial Aid Administrator must determine Jose’s status using the definitions of “unaccompanied” and “homeless”

15 2014 Case study 2: Jackie  Jackie and her mother when her mother left an abusive partner  Jackie is a high school senior. They have lived in a domestic violence shelter for a few months and are about to get an apartment in transitional housing  Jackie’s mother doesn’t know where to find the parent information to complete Jackie’s FAFSA  Jackie asked the shelter if she can be considered an independent student because they are homeless

16 2014 Case study 2: Question Does Jackie qualify for independent status as an unaccompanied homeless youth?  No. Jackie is homeless, but living in the custody of her mother. To be considered independent, she must be an unaccompanied homeless youth.

17 2014 Case study 3: Christopher  Christopher is 23 years old and is about to start college after obtaining his GED  He is staying with a couple friends in their apartment; he sometimes contributes to rent but usually doesn’t work enough to do so. He is not sure how long they’ll let him stay with them  His parents are separated and each says the other should be helping him with college  Neither parent will provide information for FAFSA

18 2014 Case study 3: Question Does Christopher qualify for independent status as an homeless unaccompanied youth?  No. Unaccompanied homeless students over 21 but not yet 24 do not meet ED’s definition of “youth” for the FAFSA. However, they may be considered independent through the professional judgment process.

19 2014 RESOURCES  National Association for the Education of Homeless Children & Youth (NAEHCY) - Higher education & UHY Toolkit for FAAs  National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)  NAEHCY/NASFAA report: Financial Aid for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth ( report.pdf) report.pdf  Providing Effective Financial Aid e_Financial_Aid.pdf  FSA Application & Verification Guide

20 2014 Questions?

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