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).

Homeless Determinations

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:

  1. No fixed residence – a residence that is not stationary or permanent and is susceptible to change
  2. No regular residence – a residence that is not used on a regular nightly basis
  3. 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)

Campus Resources

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 Dept of Health and Human Services
Offering programs like food and nutrition services, housing assistance and more. See what options are available for you!
NC 2-1-1
NC 2-1-1 is funded by the United Way and offers services like housing, food, utilities and more. Get information and referrals from over 19,000 resources across NC!
Food Bank of the Carolinas
Helping to ensure that you have a healthy, adequate and consistent food supply. Find your local food bank today!
Salvation Army of the Carolinas

They provide services like sheltering, seasonal assistance, family stores and more.

Find the location that is near you!

NC Promise

NC Promise is a tuition plan that offers a significantly reduced tuition price at four University of North Carolina system institutions. Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville 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.

Fee Waivers

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. 

AP Exam Fee Waiver
AP programs allow high school students to take college level courses. Check with your AP Coordinator today!
ACT Exam Fee Waiver
These fee waivers are good for up to 2 ACT tests! Ask your school counselor for eligibility requirements.
SAT Exam Fee Waiver
The SAT fee waiver also comes other benefits! Meet with your school counselor for help with this fee waiver.
College Board Application Fee Waiver
These fee waivers are good at over 2000 participating colleges. Review your eligibility with your school counselor.
NACAC College Application Fee Waiver
The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) offers fee waivers for students with limited financial resources. Complete and submit your form now!
The Common App Application Fee Waiver
You can use this fee waiver at any of their member colleges. See if you meet the requirements for this fee waver now!


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:

SchoolHouse Connection Youth Scholarship Program
This scholarship is for students who have experienced homelessness to help reach their college graduation goals. See if you meet the requirements to apply today!
NAEHCY Scholarship
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Scholarship provides opportunities for students to complete their college journey. Apply Today!
Horatio Alger Association
These scholarships are for students with a financial need who have exhibited integrity and perseverance in overcoming big obstacles in their lives. Apply to these scholarships now!
Dell Scholars Scholarship Program
Scholarships for students eligible for Pell Grants that also includes personalized support. Get more information now!

National Resources

Be sure to research federal resources as well, like these:

National Center for Homeless Education
Find out what opportunities are available for low-income or homeless students. Contact your state coordinator now!
Federal TRIO Programs

These programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring and more.

See what programs are offered at NC colleges!
The Gaining Early Access and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) provides services like college visits, financial aid workshops, academic tutoring and more. Ask your counselor if you qualify for GEAR UP now!
Education and Training Vouchers Program
The ETV program helps current and former foster care youth with paying for college. Contact the Child Welfare Director at the NC Dept of Health and Human Services for more information.

Community Resources

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.