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Unaccompanied/Homeless Youth (Under 24)

Helping Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Access College Financial Aid

Who Are Unaccompanied Homeless Youth?

Unaccompanied homeless youth under 24 are young people who lack safe, stable housing and who are not in the care of a parent or guardian. They may have run away from home or been forced to leave by their parents. Unaccompanied youth live in a variety of temporary situations, including shelters, the homes of friends or relatives, cars, campgrounds, public parks, abandoned buildings, motels, and bus or train stations.

If you find yourself homeless, CCA’s goal is to support you as a student—regardless of your living situation. The goal of this program is to support the education goals of our transitioning homeless students, as well as provide human services support through mentoring, guidance, advising, financial aid, and housing support for students who meet the criteria.

CCA has a designated SPOC (single point of contact), whose goal is to help our homeless, or unaccompanied youth, qualify for financial aid in the absence of their parents' tax information and family support.

Contact: Deborah Hoefler, Director of Financial Aid, Advising,  Deborah.Hoefler@ccaurora.edu  (303) 361-7393

 

What About College? Can Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Apply for Federal Financial Aid?

Yes, with assistance from advocates. Due to their severe poverty, homeless unaccompanied youth are extremely unlikely to be able to access postsecondary education without federal student aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the federal application form that students must complete in order to apply for virtually all types of financial aid: Pell Grants, State Grants, Institutional Grants, Tuition Waivers, Work Study, and Loans. The FAFSA requires most students to provide financial information from their parents or guardians in order to determine student eligibility for aid; the application also requires a parental/guardian signature. While these requirements are logical for most applicants, they can create insurmountable barriers for unaccompanied homeless youth. These youth do not receive financial support from their parents and do not have access to parental information. Thus, despite their great need for financial assistance, unaccompanied homeless youth cannot supply the information required by the FAFSA and are prevented from accessing financial aid.

 

Resources: Helping Unaccompanied Youth Access Financial Aid

College Goal Sunday
Financial aid administrators around the country organize an event, College Goal Sunday, typically held a few weeks after Super Bowl Sunday, where students can get help filling out and submitting the FAFSA.  The website has the list of specific locations where these events are held.

FinAid: The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid
A very comprehensive and reputable public service website on student financial aid information, including scholarships.

KnowHow2Go
KnowHow2Go is a website that helps students better understand how to prepare for college.

LeTendre Education Fund
Scholarship program for students who have experienced homelessness.

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
National grassroots organization connecting educators, service providers, and others to ensure school enrollment, attendance, and overall success of children and youth without safe, adequate, and permanent housing.

National Center on Homeless Education
Federally-funded clearinghouse of information on homeless education. A directory of state coordinators of homeless education is available on the web site.

National College Access Network (NCAN)
National College Access Network (NCAN) improves access to and success in postsecondary education for first-generation, underrepresented and low-income students. NCAN supports a network of state and local college access programs that provide counseling, advice, and financial assistance. State and local college access programs can be found on the directory on the NCAN web site.

National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
NLCHP serves as the legal arm of the nationwide movement to end homelessness.

National Network for Youth
The National Network for Youth is membership organization of community-based, faith-based, and public agencies working with runaway, homeless, and other disconnected youth

National Runaway Switchboard

Student Aid on the Web
U.S. Department of Education web site on preparing for college and applying for financial aid.

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