case studies by 2J2xe89X


									Unaccompanied Youth and the FAFSA

    Case Studies and
    Discussion Guides
Case Study 1
          • Jennifer is a 17 year old Senior in high school. She will
          graduate in June and it is presently April.
          • She has tried to fill out the FAFSA online, but is having
          difficulty because she doesn’t have regular access to a
          • She visits the Financial Aid office at the college she wants
          to attend. She has been accepted to that college but is
          worried she can not attend in the Fall because she can't get
          through the FAFSA online.
          • She asked for a paper version of the FAFSA and hands it
          back to the Financial Aid office. There is no parent income
          information filled in.
          • Jennifer is living with her sister until August. Their mother
          is in prison for at least two years. Jennifer is not sure where
          she is going to live in August but hopes to be in a dorm in
Case Study 1
Jennifer                  Questions:
1. What should the financial aid office do for
•The financial aid office should contact Jennifer to get more information on why
her parents' information has been left off her FAFSA. Discrete questions will
reveal that Jennifer qualifies as a homeless unaccompanied youth. She is
living in a temporary situation without a parent or guardian. The financial aid
office should assist her with properly filling out the FAFSA as a homeless
unaccompanied youth.

•The FAA also should connect Jennifer with her school district’s homeless
education liaison to make sure she is receiving other appropriate services at
school. The liaison also can make a determination of Jennifer’s status as an
unaccompanied homeless youth for purposes of the FAFSA. The college or
the school homeless education liaison should give Jennifer information about
other community services that could assist her, such as the agencies who
administer the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.
Case Study 1
Jennifer                   Questions:
2. How does this situation demonstrate the need
  for informational posters in schools and on
 •Informational posters could have given Jennifer the information she
 needed to seek out her school homeless education liaison to help assist
 her with the FAFSA.

 •Jennifer also could have been able to explore other scholarship
 information such as the LeTendre Education Fund scholarship program for
 students who have experienced homelessness.

 Posters in Jennifer's high school, college financial aid office or during a
 McKinney-Vento FAFSA Week would have helped Jennifer.
Case Study 1
Jennifer                  Questions:
3. What services does Jennifer qualify for at her
  high school?
 •Jennifer qualifies for services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless
 Assistance Act.
 •The homeless education liaison at Jennifer's school district can assist her
 with transportation to and from school if necessary to maintain school
 stability, free breakfast and lunch and other services needed for academic
 •Jennifer can receive waivers for SAT and ACT testing, as well as waivers
 for some college applications if Jennifer is in need of these waivers.
 •The liaison also can connect Jennifer to other community services that
 could assist her, such as housing, food, clothing, and health care.
    Case Study 2
•   Jose is a 20-year-old sophomore in college.
    He lived in the dorms last year and is planning
    on doing so again this year.

•   His mother was evicted from her small apartment, so she went to live with
    her sister in another state. There really isn’t room for Jose at his aunt’s

•   Over the summer, Jose lived with the family of one of his friends for a few
    weeks, and then got a job as a camp counselor. Another one of the camp
    counselors said Jose could stay with him for a few weeks until school starts
    and Jose can get back in the dorm.

•   When Jose calls his Mom to ask her to fill in the parent information in the
    FAFSA, his mother said she didn’t have the information and couldn’t help
    him. She told him that he was on his own now.

•   He saw a poster in the financial aid office of his college that told him he
    could file as an independent student.
Case Study 2
Jose                       Questions:
1. Does Jose qualify as a homeless
  unaccompanied youth?
 Yes. He has not had a permanent or fixed nightly residence. He is living
 without his parent or guardian. He cannot live with his mother, who had to
 move because she lost her housing. He would be homeless if he was not
 living in the dorm.

2. How can Joses status be verified?
•Jose was not in a shelter and did not receive services from the RHYA programs.
He is not a high school student, and he never experienced homelessness in high
•The Financial Aid Administrator must make a determination of his status using
the legal definitions of “unaccompanied” and “homeless.”
•The FAA should refer him to RHYA or other appropriate programs for additional
assistance. He does not need to receive services from one of those programs to
be considered homeless. The FAA must make that determination.
Case Study 3
                   •   Jamal left home when he was 16. He is
Jamal Case Study       now 17 and is applying to college and
                       completing the FAFSA.

                   •   His high school homeless education
                       liaison instructs him on how to fill it out as
                       a homeless unaccompanied youth.

                   •   Over the summer he meets with the
                       Financial Aid office of his college and
                       gives them a letter from his district
                       homeless education liaison. The letter
                       states that Jamal qualifies as a homeless
                       unaccompanied youth. It is on the high
                       school letterhead.

                   •   The college has their own form letter and
                       asks Jamal to go back to his high school
                       to get their letter signed. Jamal comes
                       back to the college. The high school
                       office is closed until the end of August.
                       so he can’t obtain a signature for the
                       college’s letter.
Case Study 3
Jamal                    Question:

Is there a specific form for verifying status of a homeless
   unaccompanied youth?

No. There are several forms available for schools and agencies to
adapt. Any form or letter that appropriately documents the student’s
status should be sufficient. It is important to put the form or letter on
the letterhead of the agency/school that is verifying.
Case Study 4
•   Jackie and her mother became homeless when Jackie’s mother left an
    abusive boyfriend.

•   Jackie is finishing up her senior year of high school.
    They have stayed at a domestic violence shelter for almost
    two months and are about to get an apartment in transitional

•   Jackie’s mother doesn’t know where
    to find the parent information to help
    Jackie fill out the FAFSA.

•   Jackie asked the shelter if she could
    be considered an independent student
    because they are homeless.
Case Study 4
Jackie                   Question:
Does Jackie qualify for independent status as a homeless
  unaccompanied youth on the FAFSA?

• No. Jackie is homeless but not a homeless unaccompanied youth.
  She is still living with her parent.

• Jackie should receive services through the McKinney-Vento
  program in her high school.

• The FAA at the college Jackie wants to attend could help her mother
  find out where to get the necessary information needed to fill out the
  FAFSA. Most likely, Jackie will still qualify for financial aid due to
  lack of income.
    Case Study 5

•    Christopher is a 23-year-old student who just received his GED and is
     excited about becoming a full time college student.

•    He stays with two friends in their apartment. Sometimes he helps pay rent,
     but usually he doesn't get enough hours at work to help with rent. He isn't
     sure how long they will let him stay.

•    His parents are separated and each parent has said the other should be
     helping Christopher with college.

•    Neither parent will give him the information needed for the parent portion of
     the FAFSA.
Case Study 5
Christopher Question:
Does Christopher qualify for independent status as a
  homeless unaccompanied youth on the FAFSA?

No. Unaccompanied homeless students who are older than 21, but not
  yet 24, do not meet the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of
  “youth” on the FAFSA. However, they may qualify as independent
  by the process of “professional judgment.”

   Christopher should explain his situation to the Financial Aid
   Administrator at the college where he seeks to enroll, explaining his
   circumstances and requesting a dependency override so that he
   may be considered an independent student.
Case Study 6
•   Tina is a 20-year-old sophomore in college. Her mother died when she was
    very young, and she was raised by her father and grandmother.

•   Last year her grandmother moved into a senior citizen apartment building
    and Tina’s father was able to purchase a home for Tina and himself.

•   Three months ago Tina’s father was diagnosed with cancer and he passed
    away last month.

•   Tina cannot stay at her grandmother's senior citizen apartment due to the
    rules there, and she cannot afford to keep Tina's father’s house.

•   Tina is concerned that she no longer
    has parent information for the FAFSA.
Case Study 6
Tina                  Question:
Does Tina qualify for independent status as a homeless
  unaccompanied youth on the FAFSA?

Yes. Her living situation is not fixed or permanent. Her
  Grandmother would not qualify as her guardian.

She also qualifies for independent status because both of
  her parents are deceased.

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