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 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.

Per federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, “If a student does not have, and cannot get, documentation from any of the authorities given on page 27, you (the FAA) must determine if she is an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.”

This form from the National Center for Homeless Education can help financial aid administrators evaluate an unaccompanied homeless youth’s eligibility as an independent student.

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