Posted Date:June 10, 2016
|Author:||Jeff Baker, Director, Policy Liaison and Implementation, Federal Student Aid|
Subject: Availability of the "Federal Student Aid and Homeless Youth" Fact Sheet on Studentaid.gov and Important Reminders for Financial Aid Administrators
In an effort to help homeless students understand the information they need to apply for Federal student aid, the U.S. Department of Education has created a fact sheet on StudentAid.gov titled “Federal Student Aid and Homeless Youth”. We encourage the financial aid community and its partners to make this fact sheet available to students who may benefit from the information included in the fact sheet. The fact sheet is attached to this announcement and widely available at www.studentaid.gov under the “Resources” page.
We would also like to remind institutions of the guidance provided in the July 29, 2015 Dear College Letter on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Determinations (GEN-15-16). As stated in the letter, institutions are not required to verify the answers to the homeless youth questions on the FAFSA. However, in instances where the institution does request documentation to verify a student’s homeless youth status, verification documentation may include a documented phone call or a written statement from the student or documentation from the relevant authority that provided the student’s homeless youth determination. A relevant authority may be:
- A school district homeless liaison (often referred to as a McKinney Vento Liaison),
- The director (or their designee) of a program funded under subtitle B of title IV of McKinney-Vento (relating to emergency shelter grants), or
- A Housing and Urban Development homeless assistance program director funded under McKinney-Vento or RHYA.
Generally an FAA may not override, ignore, or reject a determination made by one of the above relevant authorities. However, if an FAA has questions about the submitted documentation, he or she should contact the relevant authority.
We are aware that some institutions are unnecessarily restricting applicants’ access to aid by asking applicants to provide justification as to why they are homeless or unaccompanied rather than evidence that they have been determined to be homeless or at risk of being homeless. Institutions should limit any inquiry to whether the applicant has been determined to be an unaccompanied youth who is homeless, or at risk of being homeless, rather than the reasons for the applicant’s homelessness.
We appreciate your support and diligence in serving homeless students.
If you have any questions about the information provided in the “Federal Student Aid and Homeless Youth” fact sheet, please contact Kerri Moseley-Hobbs at Kerri.MoseleyHobbs@ed.gov.