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at Advocates for Children

151 West 30th Street
5th Floor
New York, NY 10001

TEL 800.388.2014
FAX 212.807.6872

PLEASE NOTE: In some cases, the resources on this page 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

Resources | Financial Aid Information | Scholarships

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.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Find answers to commonly asked questions about students experiencing homelessness accessing higher education .


NAEHCY Higher Education Helpline

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

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.

Application and Verification Guide to the FAFSA

The U.S. Department of Education's "Application and Verification Guide" (AVG) provides instructions and guidance on filling out the FAFSA.

NCHE Summary of the 2017-2018 Application and Verification Guide to FAFSA

This NCHE guide provides a summary of the changes to the U.S. Department of Education's "Application and Verification Guide" (AVG) for 2017-2018.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Verification Form For the Purposes of Federal Financial Aid

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.

Applying for TAP as an Independent Student

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.

SAT Program Fee-Waiver Service

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.

ACT Fee Waiver Eligiblity Requirements and Procedures

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.


Scholarship Opportunities

A list of resources for College Scholarships, Fellowships, and other funding opportunities.

NAEHCY Scholarship Program Announcement and Application

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.

Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.

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

Stay tuned for the Summer and Fall 2017 Workshop and Training schedules.

Upcoming Webinars

Stay tuned for the Fall/Winter 2017 Webinar series.

Webinar Schedule

Recorded Webinars and Materials

More dates, information and registration

Workshops and Training Materials

Training and Workshop Materials