Although you may not think of yourself as homeless, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act describes homelessness as “Children and unaccompanied youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”
Examples of homelessness may include children or youth who are:
- sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as “doubled-up”);
- living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- living in emergency or transitional shelters;
- abandoned in hospitals;
- Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
- Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings;
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.
If you think you qualify as homeless under these criteria, you can contact the homeless liaison for your school district. Ask your high school counselor if you need help finding your liaison.
If you qualify as homeless, you may be able to complete the FAFSA and obtain financial aid without providing parental information. After completing the FAFSA, the financial aid office may need you to document your situation with one of the following:
- Certification from the secondary school district’s McKinney-Vento Act LEA liaison
- Documentation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homeless assistance program director or designee
- Certification from a Runaway and Homeless Youth Act program director or designee
- Documentation from a financial aid officer who has met with you, has completed a homeless youth determination form, and in some cases may have received letters of confirmation from parents of your friends, church leaders, or relatives.
Take advantage of these resources as you plan and pay for college.