Students who are experiencing homelessness or who are self-supporting and at risk of homelessness without a parent or guardian do not need to include parent information on the FAFSA. Instead, these students can attest that they are experiencing homelessness without a parent by providing a determination letter from an authorized party, completing a documented interview, or providing a written statement to the financial aid administrator. 

If you are reading this resource, your financial aid administrator has likely requested you to complete a written statement. We have provided a template you can fill out on page 2, but before you complete it, please read the notes below.  

The Definition of Homelessness 

For the purposes of the FAFSA, the term “homeless children and youth” means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This specifically includes children and youth whose living situations fall into one of the categories below.

  • Temporarily staying with other people due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Staying in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Staying in motels, campgrounds, cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or any public or private place not designed for humans to live in
  • Staying in substandard housing
  • Staying in on-campus housing but would otherwise have no other place to stay

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth are defined as youth who meet the definition above and who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) defines the term “at-risk of homelessness” to refer to students whose housing may cease to be fixed, regular, and adequate.This means that you may currently have housing but you will soon lose it or it will soon become unlivable.  

To read examples and to learn more about who meets the definition, click here.

Important Note: When providing a written statement for the FAFSA, you should only describe your living situation, not the reasons why you are experiencing homelessness. The goal is only to determine if you meet the definitions of “homeless” and ‘unaccompanied.” 

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