Can Homeless Students Complete the FAFSA?

It’s recommended all students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, regardless of their living situation or extenuating circumstances. If you are currently experiencing homelessness, review these questions to determine your status on the FAFSA:

  • Were you homeless or were you self-supporting and at risk of being homeless on or after July 1, 2021?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2021 did you receive a determination from any of the entities listed below that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless, or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
    • Your high school or school district homeless liaison
    • The director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    • The director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll be considered homeless and will not need parental information to complete the FAFSA. At this point you may continue filling out the FAFSA as an independent student.

If you answered no to the questions above, the financial aid offices at the colleges you’ve listed on your FAFSA can still consider you as homeless if:

  • You are homeless, or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless. Homeless means you are lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing, which includes living in shelters, parks, motels, hotels, public spaces, camping grounds, cars, abandoned buildings, or temporarily living with other people because you have nowhere else to go. Also, if you are living in any of these situations and fleeing an abusive parent, you may be considered homeless even if you parent would otherwise provide you a place to live.
  • You are unaccompanied, which means you are not living in the physical custody of your parent(s) or guardian(s).

If you believe you meet these conditions and would like to follow up with the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend, continue on with your FAFSA.

If you’re unsure if you meet the requirements for homelessness on the FAFSA and don’t know who to contact, visit your high school counselor first. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction and help you navigate this process.