As the school year begins, we’ve got new tools to help school districts and states implement ESSA amendments.
Research shows the importance of participation in activity programs in increasing high school graduation and later success in life, particularly for disadvantaged students. Yet homelessness creates significant barriers to participation in athletics and other extra-curricular activities. Fortunately, the ESSA amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act include new policies to remove barriers to participation in extra-curricular activities.
- Full Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities for Students Experiencing Homelessness, the first in SHC’s “Getting to Graduation” series, explains the new requirements and provides examples of state policies to help implement them.
- In addition, this editable template for school districts (Microsoft Word download) can be used to provide athletic directors and associations with determinations of a youth’s homeless status (or foster care status).
Another ESSA amendment to the McKinney-Vento Act requires school district liaisons to inform unaccompanied homeless youth of their status as independent students for financial aid (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA) and help them obtain verification of that status.
- To help implement this policy, we’ve prepared a sample form letter to determine the independent student status of unaccompanied homeless youth for the 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Microsoft Word). This form letter may be edited as appropriate for your school district, institution of higher education, shelter, transitional living program, or street outreach program. (Please note that the new FAFSA for 2018-2019 becomes available on October 1st; we will provide an updated template at that time.)
- In case you missed it, check out our June 2017 archived webinar on federal student aid policies, with presenters from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education and the Office of Federal Student Aid.