Independent Status | Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) of 2007 includes provisions to make undergraduate and graduate education more affordable for aspiring social-impact professionals. It also establishes that unaccompanied homeless youth qualify as independent students for purposes of federal financial aid. In addition to the CCRAA, various other national-level supports are available for college-bound students experiencing homelessness, including fee waivers for Advanced Placement exams, college entrance exams, and college application fees.
A student is considered homeless if he lacks fixed, regular, and adequate housing. This is broader than just living “on the street.” It includes temporarily living with other people because he had nowhere else to go; living in substandard housing (if it doesn’t meet local building codes or the utilities are turned off, it is generally not adequate); living in emergency or transitional shelters, for example, trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after disasters; or living in motels, camping grounds, cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or any public or private place not designed for humans to live in. .
How to request the verification form titled 'Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Documentation of Independent Student Status for the FAFSA':
- Contact the SAP Counselor at the high school attended (view list of SAP Counselors here)
- Provide the following information
- Student First and Last Name
- Date of Birth
- Current Mailing Address
*The SAP Counselor may determine independent status for a student's Senior year of high school. If the student is attending college, the SAP Counselor can only make the determination if he/she has personal knowledge of the student's living situation.
If a student is requesting the form after Senior Year*, contact the following verifiers:
- Shelter Representative
- Financial Aid Administrator Single Point of Contacts (SPOC)
*Living in the school dormitory if the student would otherwise be homeless or fleeing an abusive parent may be considered homeless even if the parent would provide support and a place to live and eligible for independent student status.
FAFSA Resources for Students in Transition (all links open in a new window):
- FAFSA Tips for Students in Transition
- Who Can Make A Determination of Independent Status?
- Making Determinations of Independent Status (share with your college SPOC)
Michelle Mozingo, MSW
McKinney-Vento District Liaison
Phone: (919) 694-0574
NC Homeless Education Program
Lisa Phillips, State Coordinator
PO Box 5367
Greensboro, N.C. 27435
Phone: (336) 315-7491
Toll-free: (800) 659-3204