This is the largest national survey assessing the basic needs security of university students. It is the HOPE Lab’s 3rd national survey; the other two focused on community colleges. This year we report on 43,000 students at 66 institutions in 20 states and the District of Columbia. That includes over 20,000 students at 35 4-year… Read more »
Higher Education and FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
College is a time for learning and growth, not only on an academic level, but at the social level as well. Fitting in and feeling accepted is important to many college students. This is a particularly crucial issue for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) community. Although recent strides have… Read more »
The burden of paying for college and adjusting to college life can be tough enough – but it only gets harder for LGBTQ students, who may be ostracized for being different. This guide aims to reduce the stress of college for LGBTQ students by assisting with one key element: financial aid. Read on to find… Read more »
People with disabilities are rapidly becoming more and more prevalent as college students. According to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), students with disabilities made up 11.1 percent of all college students in the 2011-2012 school year. That number is nearly doubled among students who are also veterans. Students with mobility disabilities, sensory disabilities,… Read more »
https://financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/tk/about/how-to.jsp The Financial Aid Toolkit provides school counselors and other college access mentors with information and resources about federal student aid. This site contains material about different types of financial aid, the FAFSA, outreach, and training opportunities. You’ll find fact sheets, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and other resources to share with students to help them learn… Read more »
http://www.ed.gov/category/keyword/resources-support-completion http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/federal-supports-college-access-completion.pdf The U.S. Department of Education – in collaboration with partners from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor – released a fact sheet on New Federal Guidance and Resources to Support Completion and Success in Higher Education and an accompanying federal interagency letter entitled Aligning… Read more »
This guide is intended for college financial aid administrators and counselors who help students begin the aid process—filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, verifying information, and making corrections and other changes to the information reported on the FAFSA.
This tip sheet from SchoolHouse Connection provides guidance for assisting youth with the FAFSA application released on October 1, 2018.
In 2015, the Texas Education Code was amended to require liaisons at all public institutions of higher education in Texas. The higher education foster care liaison serves a critical role in bridging the gap between the students who want to pursue higher education and those who have the support needed to complete their degree. This… Read more »
This one page document provides a flowchart of the waiver process for Texas foster care youth enrolling in college, along with a basic Q&A on the topic.
This sample letter is provided by SchoolHouse Connection.
Access these tips at https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/tips-for-helping-homeless-youth-succeed-in-college/ This SchoolHouse Connection series is focused on helping youth experiencing homelessness succeed in college. We highlight best practices for supporting these students from institutions across the country. These are living documents that will be updated regularly to provide new and innovative practices. If you or your institution would like to… Read more »
This Q&A document by the USED helps homeless youth navigate the Federal financial aid process.
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/HousingInsecurityInHigherEd.html The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in partnership with the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, released a resource entitled Addressing Housing Insecurity and Living Costs in Higher Education: A Guidebook for Colleges and Universities. With high rates of college enrollment despite stagnant or declining family incomes and increasing college costs, today many college… Read more »
https://bettermakeroom.org/our-story Better Make Room is about creating a space for all the great things you’ll do next. It’s about staking a claim, forging a path and lighting the way for others just like you. And it’s a lot more fun to get there together. The site includes: Tools – developed by the U.S. Department of… Read more »
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report on the challenges and barriers affecting the ability of homeless and foster youth to pursue a college education. GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the “congressional watchdog,” GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. GAO reports often… Read more »
- Download "Wisconsin_hope_lab_hungry_to_learn"
- Download "Wisconsin_HOPE_Lab_Data Brief 16-01_Undergraduate_Housing and_Food_Insecurity"
In December 2015, the Wisconsin HOPE Lab released Hungry to Learn: Addressing Food and Housing Insecurity Among Undergraduates. This report surveys more than 4,000 undergraduate students at 10 community colleges from around the country to assess the incidence of food and housing insecurity, including homelessness, among these students. According to survey results, “half of all… Read more »
A recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics states that over 2.5 million college students, around 11%, live with a disability. As part of their effort to support students in their pursuit of a rewarding and successful college experience, BestColleges.com has compiled a collection of resources for students with disabilities. The collection includes… Read more »
Choosing the right college is a difficult process for anyone. As a student who identifies as LGBTQ this task becomes downright daunting as they must also try and find a place of acceptance, inclusion, and support. The College Guide for LGBTQ Students is designed to help students down this path – a planning guide they… Read more »
This list includes institutions that are “test optional,” “test flexible” or otherwise de-emphasize the use of standardized tests by making admissions decisions about substantial numbers of applicants who recently graduated from U.S. high schools without using the SAT or ACT. View the list at: http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional.
The growth of educational technology has brought a wide range of distance learning opportunities to Texas. More and more colleges are beginning to offer full courses and certificates within the online platform, and many have graduated to full distance-learning degree programs. Texas Tech University, for example, has more than 50 fully online and hybrid programs… Read more »
Higher education offers one of the surest pathways out of poverty and homelessness. Yet youth who experience homelessness face barriers to accessing financial aid. They often lack the support to apply to, enroll in, and complete their post-secondary education. NAEHCY works to remove these barriers, and to assist youth, educators, service providers, and advocates in… Read more »
This form, developed collaboratively by the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), is to be completed by a college financial aid administrator (FAA) who is evaluating a student’s eligibility for independent student status. It provides guidance to assist FAAs in making a… Read more »
Figuring out how to pay for college is a challenge for any student, but for those coming from homeless or low-income situations, this may seem like a barrier that’s nearly impossible to overcome. This guide includes resources to cover extra expenses of school such as housing, text books, medical care and more. Click here to… Read more »
Coming from a low income situation as a young adult presents a plethora of hurdles, especially when it comes to completing a college education. The incentive to stay in college becomes slim to none when there is a lack of funds and resources readily available. Everyone deserves an opportunity to achieve an education on an… Read more »
The obligation and/or choice to file a tax return is completely separate from the FAFSA. For the FAFSA, youth should simply answer question 33 (and, if necessary, questions 34-38) truthfully. Also, the answer to question 33 should have no effect on the answers to Step Three of the FAFSA, in particular questions 58-60. Again, youth should answer those questions honestly and seek the appropriate verification.
This document provides tips for responding to questions on the 2016-2017 FAFSA that may cause difficulty for youth who are, or have been, homeless. Question numbers and steps refer to the paper FAFSA. Sections refer to the online FAFSA.
This chart lists the most common errors many students, including homeless students and students coming out of foster care, make when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).These errors stop the processing of the application and delay the disbursement of funds students need to pay college expenses. The right-hand column provides suggestions for avoiding these mistakes.
A dependency status appeal is a process by which an otherwise dependent student can be considered independent for financial aid purposes. Financial aid administrators make dependency status appeal decisions on a case-by-case basis using documentation submitted by the student.
A financial aid administrator can also determine if a student is an unaccompanied youth who is either homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless. It is important to examine students’ living situations and claims on a case-by-case basis. If a student does not have and cannot get documentation from any of the authorities given on page 26 of the Application and Verification Guide, you must deter-mine if she is an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
McKinney-Vento school district liaisons, service providers, and unaccompanied homeless youth should work with financial aid administrators to have unaccompanied youth designated as independent. In addition, unaccompanied youth may need assistance overcoming common barriers that students face in trying to fill out the FAFSA, such as not having all the documents they need, not knowing how… Read more »
McKinney-Vento students who are “unaccompanied” (not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian) are automatically eligible to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as independent students, meaning they do not have to provide a parental income information or signature. However, unaccompanied youth must be verified as such by a school district McKinney-Vento liaison or director of certain shelters or youth programs. It is critical that high school counselors know which students are eligible when they complete the FAFSA and help those students receive proper verification from the liaison.
Updated for 2016-17. There are unusual situations where you will need to exercise your discretion as a financial aid administrator: when modifying the student’s data that calculate the EFC, performing dependency overrides, resolving conflicting information, reporting cases of fraud, and determining a student to be an unaccompanied homeless youth.
The AVG provides information to college financial aid administrators and counselors who help students with the process of seeking federal student aid for post-secondary education. Unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) are considered independent students for purposes of applying for federal student aid. This means that UHY do not need to include a parent signature or information… Read more »
Best Practices in Homeless Education Brief Series
Supporting College Completion for Students Experiencing Homelessness
This CCRAA provision has helped to ensure that unaccompanied homeless youth have access to the financial support necessary to pay for college. This issue brief explores how several colleges are supporting their homeless student populations with the intention of spotlighting promising practices that may be replicated at other postsecondary institutions across the country.
Sample letter templates for student homeless eligibility verification letters for the FAFSA application.
The purpose of this letter is to clarify institutional and applicants’ roles and responsibilities related to Title IV dependency determinations for unaccompanied homeless youth.
This College Affordability Guide and website provides information on financial assistance programs sponsored by the government and community organizations that can help lighten your worries about your college debt load. What’s more, there may be strategies that you haven’t yet considered—selling textbooks, visiting the dental school, using a Zipcar—for cutting costs. Hundreds of options are… Read more »
Reconciling Federal, State, and Institutional Policies
Determining Educational Access for Undocumented Students: Implications for Professional Practice
This report was prepared by the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good and funded by TG Public Benefit Grant Program.
Chart overview of Higher Education information/resources for current and former foster youth, adopted youth, and youth in PCA/PMC (Revised July 2017); Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS).