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Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Documentation of Independent Student Status for the FAFSA and DCTAG

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (MKV), local education agency (LEA) homeless liaisons are now required to:

  • Inform unaccompanied homeless youth of their status as an independent student when applying for college financial aid; and
  • Help unaccompanied homeless youth to obtain assistance to receive verification for the FAFSA. 20 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A)(x)(III).

Effective beginning in the 2017-18 school year, LEA and school-based homeless liaisons can complete this verification form on behalf of their identified unaccompanied homeless students who are applying for college financial aid. The completed form waives the requirement to report parents’/guardians’ financial information.

School counselors are required to advise, prepare, and improve the readiness of all youth experiencing homelessness for college. 20 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(K)

The purpose of the verification guide is to provide guidance to homeless liaisons that are completing the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Documentation of Independent Student Status for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG) form on behalf of students who are applying for college financial aid in the District of Columbia.

If a student has been identified by an LEA or school as an unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, the LEA or school-based homeless liaison may complete an Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Documentation of Independent Student Status form on behalf of the student.  The liaison must determine if the student is an unaccompanied youth who is experiencing homelessness or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless. The LEA or school-based homeless liaison should make homeless youth determinations for financial aid purposes on a case-by-case basis.