at Advocates for Children
151 West 30th Street
New York, NY 10001
PLEASE NOTE: The guidance memos and resources on this page are the latest versions now available. In some cases, certain information may not be current.
Important changes related to McKinney-Vento were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The changes went into effect October 1, 2016, and include: expanded transportation protections until the end of the school year for temporarily housed students who move into permanent housing, the inclusion of preschool in the definition of "school of origin" (children can stay in their school of origin and receive transportation to that school), and changes to the dispute resolution process which include the provision of all McKinney-Vento related services (for example, continued enrollment and transportation) until a final decision is issued. For more information about ESSA changes to the McKinney-Vento Act, see the State Education Department's Field Memo regarding Implementation of Changes to McKinney-Vento Homeless Act as a Result of Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act.
Please continue to check here for updated information about how new laws will impact policies and procedures in New York State, and as always, feel free to contact NYS-TEACHS at 800-388-2014 with any questions you may have.
Accessing College for Students in Temporary Housing
Higher education is the key to helping students experiencing homelessness escape poverty. There are several programs available through the federal Higher Education Act, such as the TRIO programs, that help students graduate from high school, apply and enroll in college, and complete their degrees. Also, homeless unaccompanied youth qualify as independent students on the Free Student Application for Financial Act (FAFSA), which makes it easier for them to get the financial aid they need to pursue post-secondary education.
In December 2015, the McKinney-Vento Act was reauthorized as Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Amendments to McKinney-Vento include a requirement that liaisons ensure that unaccompanied homeless youth are informed of their status as independent students for college financial aid and that they may obtain assistance to receive verification for the FAFSA. 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(6)(A)(x)(III).
The amendments to McKinney-Vento also require that school districts ensure that students in temporary housing receive assistance from school counselors to advise, prepare, and improve their readiness for college. 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(1)(K).
Below are links that more fully explain these resources as well as information about other sources of financial aid and scholarships.
Find answers to commonly asked questions about students experiencing homelessness accessing higher education .
For assistance with issues related to students experiencing homelessness accessing higher education, contact the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) Higher Education Helpline at 855-446-2673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
College Access and Success for Students Experiencing Homelessness: A Toolkit for Educators and Service Providers
This toolkit is designed to help school officials and service providers understand the options and supports available for college-bound youth experiencing homelessness. Topics include: choosing a school, paying for applications, and finding financial aid and scholarships.
National Center for Homeless Education: Access to Higher Education for Students Experiencing Homelessness
This webpage has a variety of information and links for students experiencing homelessness who wish to pursue post-secondary education.
Increasing Access to Higher Education for Unaccompanied Youth: Information for Colleges and Universities [PDF]
This NCHE brief includes a summary of education legislation that gives unaccompanied homeless youth access to educational supports, and provides examples of practices implemented by high schools, colleges, and universities to assist these students in succeeding.
Financial Aid Information
U.S. Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Determinations [PDF]
This July 29, 2015 Dear Colleague letter from the U.S. Department of Education provides guidance for financial aid administrators on the definition of homelessness, how to make determinations, and documentation. It revises USED policy so that all applicants under age 24, including those who are 22 or 23 years old, and who are unaccompanied and homeless, or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, qualify for a homeless youth determination and will be considered independent students.
The U.S. Department of Education's "Application and Verification Guide" (AVG) provides instructions and guidance on filling out the FAFSA.
This template form, developed by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), can be used by LEA liaisons, HUD-funded shelter staff, and RHYA shelter staff for verifying a student's status as an unaccompanied homeless youth for the FAFSA.
The New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a grant program for NYS residents who are full-time undergraduate students enrolled in an eligible program at an institution within the state. Annual awards range from $500 to $5,000.
This webpage from the College Board explains how a high school junior and senior can receive a fee-waiver in order to take the SAT college entrance exam or SAT subject test. It also discusses how a college-bound student can recive waivers for college application fees.
This webpage describes the procedures that economically disadvantaged high school juniors or seniors should follow to receive a fee waiver for taking the ACT college entrance exam.
A list of resources for College Scholarships, Fellowships, and other funding opportunities.
This webpage describes the NAEHCY Scholarship Program, which provides financial assistance to students pursuing a college education who are homeless or who have experienced homelessness.
The Horatio Alger Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to students in NYS who have exhibited integrity and perseverance in overcoming personal adversity, including homelessness, and who aspire to pursue higher education.
Upcoming Workshops and Trainings
10/17/16 Training at Nassau BOCES
10/26/16 Training at Eastern Suffolk BOCES
11/17/16 Workshop in Rochester
11/29/16 Workshop in Albany
10/25/16 McKinney-Vento 101 - with ESSA Updates (NYC)
10/27/16 McKinney-Vento 101 - with ESSA Updates (NYS)