National Center for Homeless Education | Homeless Education Listserv
The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) operates the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance and information center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. NCHE is based at The SERVE Center at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). NCHE hosts this Homeless Education Mailing List to share information and resources with educators, service providers, and other interested stakeholders about meeting the educational needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The ideas on this listserv do not necessarily reflect the views of NCHE, The SERVE Center, UNCG, or the U.S. Department of Education. ALL LOBBYING ACTIVITIES ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN.
2016-2017 Unaccompanied Homeless Youth FAFSA Data

Greetings colleagues:

The U.S. Department of Education has just released FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) data, including state-level numbers, for unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) for the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017 FAFSA years. This data is helpful in understanding more about UHY who have accessed federal student aid for college as independent students. While this data is useful and informative, it is important to understand what the data does and does not represent. In the interest of brevity, NCHE provides highlights below, but strongly recommends reading the entirety of the clarifying information provided by the U.S. Department of Education on page 1 of the data report, which is available for downloading at

Clarifying Points about the Data
The data represents a subset of unaccompanied homeless youth who accessed federal student aid as independent students. It does not represent the total number of homeless youth attending college in the United States.

Subset: Because of the way the FAFSA uses skip logic to identify students in various independent student categories, the UHY FAFSA data only includes youth who answered "no" to all previous independent student status questions and "yes" to one of the UHY questions. Once an applicant provides a positive response on the FAFSA on the Web for any of the questions regarding independent status, most of the additional questions, including those for homelessness, are not shown. See the screen shot at For more information on dependency status, visit
Unaccompanied: The data represents homeless youth who were unaccompanied (experiencing homelessness on their own). The data does not include youth experiencing homelessness with their family.
Who accessed federal student aid as independent students as UHY: The data does not include UHY who did not complete the FAFSA; UHY who, for whatever the reason, did not respond affirmatively to the UHY questions on the FAFSA; or youth whose requests for independent student status as an UHY remained "undetermined".

What is Independent Student Status?
UHY qualify as independent students for purposes of applying for federal student aid for college. This means that they do not need to report their parents’ financial and other information on the FAFSA. This support is critical in helping UHY access the financial support they need to pay for college.

For more information on independent student status for UHY, visit, or register for an upcoming NCHE  Paving the Way to College for Students Experiencing Homelessness webinar at

Feel free to reach out should you have additional questions about this data.

Best regards,

Christina Dukes, Federal Liaison
National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)
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National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) |
Operating the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program
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