Senator Alexander Introduces FAFSA Simplification Bill

On Thursday, September 26, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, introduced the Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019, S.2557. The legislation bundles together eight different bills to amend parts of the Higher Education Act (HEA), including FAFSA and financial aid award letter simplification, as well as Pell Grant expansion. 

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The FAFSA: Four Things You Can Do to Help Homeless and Foster Youth

Whether you work in K-12, higher education, child welfare, or homeless services, the release of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important date. This brief provides concrete ways to help youth experiencing homelessness and youth from foster care, as well as practical resources.

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5 Lessons I Learned When A Homeless Youth Walked Through My Door

Authored by: Heather Denny, State Coordinator for Homeless Education, Montana Office of Public Instruction. “I’ve been to countless conferences. I’ve sat through hours of professional development. I’ve probably spent days conferring with liaisons, service providers, school administrators, national policy experts, advocates, and my peers who do this work. But when a youth experiencing homelessness came to stay with me and my family, I learned more in one week than I’ve learned in a very long time.”

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Didn’t ESSA add some preference for awarding McKinney-Vento subgrants to applicants that do not propose using McKinney-Vento funds for transportation?

Answer: You are right, there is language on this in the law. It is in the section on quality of subgrant applications: “(3) QUALITY- In determining the quality of applications under paragraph (1), the State educational agency shall consider the following: ... (G) The...

I have a 17-year-old student who was adopted and lived in another district. The student decided that she no longer wanted to live with the adoptive family. She moved out without their consent and is now living with her biological mother in my district. The school is concerned about registering the student and who would be listed as the legal guardian. Is the student an unaccompanied homeless youth?

Answer: Yes. Based on the information that you have provided, this student meets the definition of both unaccompanied and homeless, and is therefore eligible for the protections and services of the McKinney-Vento Act. She meets the definition of unaccompanied (not in...

Should McKinney-Vento students’ enrollment be delayed until transportation is put in place, to avoid absences that may occur due to lack of transportation?

Answer: No. McKinney-Vento students have the right to immediate enrollment, which includes attending classes. 42 USC 11432(g)(3)(C).  Delays in setting up transportation to the school of origin would make that enrollment not immediate. The district must provide...

Would a family still be considered eligible for McKinney-Vento if they have moved into permanent housing but are receiving monetary assistance from the program (i.e. rental assistance)?

Answer: This answer depends on the kind of program that is assisting the family.  If they are getting rental assistance and nothing else, the lease is in their name, they’ll stay in the same home (hopefully) when the rental assistance ends, and there are not...

Is the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (UHY) status a professional judgement decision, or must schools make a determination for students who identify as UHY on FAFSA?

Answer: The unaccompanied homeless youth status is not a professional judgement decision. Financial aid administrators are required to make a determination of UHY status based on the legal definition of homelessness. See DCL ID: GEN-15-16 from the US Department of...

Early Childhood

Infants are at greater risk of living in homeless shelters than any other age group in the United States. Early childhood programs prevent the harmful life-long effects of homelessness on education, health and well-being.

PreK - 12

In the 2016-17 school year, public schools identified more than 1.3 million homeless students. Schools provide basic needs, caring adults, stability, normalcy, and the skills to avoid homelessness as adults.

Higher Education

The majority of well-paying jobs created today require education beyond high school. Post-secondary attainment is increasingly necessary to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, and live a healthy, productive life.

Unaccompanied Youth

Unaccompanied homeless youth are young people experiencing homelessness who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness each year.

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