Answer: If the student asks for copies of the FAFSA homeless verification letter, or asks a liaison/counselor to include a homeless verification letter in an application for college admission or scholarship, then it is fine for the liaison/counselor to provide it.  Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), schools can release educational records without consent for the purposes of financial aid.

Full Question:  In regards to scholarship and college applications, I give students the FAFSA letter that states they are unaccompanied and homeless, or unaccompanied, self-supporting and at-risk for homelessness, for financial aid purposes; but what about for scholarship applications or college entrance applications?  What is the best way for those students to show documentation that they have no parental income to support them in their college pursuits?

Full Answer:  If the student asks for copies of the FAFSA homeless verification letter, or asks a liaison/counselor to include a homeless verification letter in an application for college admission or scholarship, then it is fine for the liaison/counselor to provide it.  Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), schools can release educational records without consent for the purposes of financial aid.  However, if the information is for a college application or a private scholarship, it is a good idea to get a signed release of information.  The parent or legal guardian could sign, as well as a caregiver, or the youth herself is she’s 18 or if she’s unaccompanied. There is some great information on FERPA and releases of information for unaccompanied youth here.

If letters of reference are required for college or scholarship applications, the student could ask people writing the letter to reference the student’s homeless situation/status as part of the recommendation letter.

Read more Q&A from Our Inbox

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This