I have two students who recently registered in our district. The mother signed a district form giving her mother guardianship of the children. She writes that the reason for giving her mother guardianship is: “I feel it’s the safest place for my child to be since I am homeless.” I have no contact with the mother and cannot verify her statement of homelessness. Can the student be considered McKinney-Vento?

Answer: Yes.  This language from the McKinney-Vento Act applies: “The choice regarding placement shall be made regardless of whether the child or youth lives with the homeless parents or has been temporarily placed elsewhere.” 42 USC 11432(g)(3)(F). It...

We have former homeless/unaccompanied youth being instructed by their college to get a current FAFSA verification letter from their former high school, even though we have not kept in touch with that student. I thought colleges had a procedure on how to declare a student as independent?

Answer: You are correct. Liaisons can provide unaccompanied homeless youth verification letters for students who have graduated if you are still in touch and still have knowledge of the information necessary to make the verification.  However, you also are right that...

I am trying to get my district to reimburse a student for gas he has used driving himself to/from his school of origin. An administrator says we can not issue cash/check because this is a student (not a parent), and there is no accountability. Are there any restrictions on school of origin transportation reimbursement for a youth, as opposed to a parent?

Answer: No. In fact, the McKinney-Vento Act is clear that transportation assistance is required for unaccompanied youth: “Each local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youths, designated under paragraph (1)(J)(ii), shall ensure that–...

We have students who get kicked out of the family home after high school graduation, but we don’t have homeless shelters in our community. These students can’t get confirmation of their unaccompanied homeless youth status from a shelter or high school. They are often confused about how to complete the FAFSA, and they request a Dependency Override (DO). Once we start trying to document information for a DO we realize they are homeless, but making that correction to the FAFSA seems to be stating that WE (the financial aid office) have documentation. What do we do in those situations?

Answer: FAAs are not only authorized to make determinations of UHY status, but they are also required to do so if a student doesn’t have a determination from a party that is authorized by the HEA. A documented interview with the student can serve the purpose of...

If a student in child welfare custody was placed into foster care, then goes to court and the situation changes to them being placed with a family member, does the student fall under ESSA’s Title I foster care provisions, or under McKinney-Vento?

Answer: If the child welfare system still has custody, then the student falls under ESSA’s Title I foster care provisions. The child welfare agency or the court may place the child with a family member on a trial basis, or even longer-term, but still keep the case...

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