Students With No Fixed Address
As the time for college approaches, some students find themselves in temporary housing situations or homeless. While this can present challenges for the college application and financial aid process, there are numerous resources available. Also, NC colleges have experts ready to help who are called SPOCs (Single Points of Contact on Campuses for Unaccompanied/Homeless Youth).
So how do you know if you are considered homeless and eligible for assistance at an NC college? Homeless determinations are made on a case-by-case basis by your financial aid administrator. There are three basic requirements that are typically used to assist in making these determinations:
- No fixed residence – a residence that is not stationary or permanent and is susceptible to change
- No regular residence – a residence that is not used on a regular nightly basis
- No adequate residence – a residence that does not meet the physical and psychological needs of a typical home environment
If you feel that you meet these requirements, contact your financial aid administrator to see what resources and financial aid options are available to assist you.
- Sharing a home because of housing loss
- Sharing a home because of financial trouble
- Living in motels or hotels
- Living in a shelter
- Abandoned at the hospital
- Awaiting placement in the foster care system
- Living in cars
- Living in parks
- Living in campgrounds
- Living in abandoned buildings
- Living in bus or train stations
- Living under bridges
- Migratory children
- Unaccompanied youth (not living with a parent or legal guardian)
Once you get on campus, there are still more resources to assist you. Each North Carolina public four-year and two-year institutions have a single point of contact (SPOC) on their campus specifically for homeless/transitional students. The SPOC is an administrator designed to support homeless and transitional youth with things such as admissions, financial aid, academic advising, campus housing, meal services, and community resources. Find your SPOC
North Carolina Resources
Explore the resources offered within North Carolina like the ones below.
NC Promise is a tuition plan that offers a significantly reduced tuition price at three University of North Carolina system institutions. Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Western Carolina University all charge only $500 per semester. That’s a great price that is hard to beat.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Start by completing the FAFSA application. By answering the questions in the dependency status section, it will be determined if you are qualified for independent student status. Independent student status allows you to complete the FAFSA without your parent’s information. The Federal Student Aid website offers additional help with the FAFSA Dependency section.
Once you’ve completed the FAFSA as an independent student you should immediately contact the financial aid administrator at the institution you plan to attend. They may require additional information or forms for the final determination of your status. Be sure to gather as much of this information as you can like court documents, letters from a school counselor or social worker, letters from clergy or any other relevant information you may have. Please keep in mind that the decision by your financial aid office is final.
When you are in the process of applying to college, the fees can really accumulate. Did you know you can save on fees for exams and applications? Be sure to check with your school counselor or exam coordinator to help determine if you meet the requirements for any of these fee waivers below.
Not only are there scholarships specifically for homeless and transitional students, but you may also be eligible for scholarships for students with limited financial resources. Below are just a few of the many scholarships available. Be sure to take advantage of the following scholarship search tools to find even more:
- CFNC Scholarship Search
- US Department of Labor Scholarship Search
- College Board’s Scholarship Search
Be sure to research federal resources as well, like these:
Don’t forget about the resources in your community as well. Contact your local churches, local food banks/pantries, community businesses, community service organizations and more. Connecting with your community support services can give you that extra boost you need to help make your dream of a college education a reality.