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This year, we’ve reformed the Index to focus on unhoused youth and young adults (YYA), aligning it with their experiences and policy needs. Shifting from harm reduction to transformative change, some jurisdictions may see lower scores than before. This is a deliberate strategy, not a setback. Lower scores should motivate, not discourage, jurisdictions. They present an opportunity to adopt policies that effectively tackle and prevent youth homelessness, fostering meaningful progress.
Tuition and Fee Exemptions for Unhoused Students
The jurisdiction exempts unhoused students from paying tuition and fees
Different jurisdictions in the US have different policies regarding tuition for unhoused students. Some jurisdictions offer ‘in-state’ tuition for unhoused students, while others may exempt them from paying tuition and fees altogether. In some cases, jurisdictions may also provide grants or other forms of financial assistance to help unhoused students cover the costs of tuition and fees.
Homelessness liaisons are key to the McKinney-Vento system of protections and rights for unhoused youth in primary and secondary education. When jurisdictions properly implement McKinney-Vento, liaisons provide resources and lower barriers to help unhoused students access and complete their education. Jurisdictions can expand this type of system into post-secondary educational institutions.
Several jurisdictions also require that public colleges and universities prioritize housing for currently or formerly unhoused students. This includes housing assistance during academic breaks and non-discrimination protections in the housing application process. Jurisdictions should expand these protections to all colleges and universities, not just public ones, and should appropriate adequate funding for housing.
|Type of Policy
|The jurisdiction exempts unhoused students from paying tuition and fees
|The jurisdiction exempts unhoused students from paying tuition and fees in certain circumstances
|The jurisdiction offers ‘in-state’ tuition rates for unhoused students
|No law found
Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. "State Index on Youth Homelessness, Tuition and Fee Exemptions for Unhoused Students" https://youthstateindex.com/maps/tuition-and-fee-exemptions-for-unhoused-students/. Accessed: February 24, 2024.
- Homelessness Liaisons at Post-Secondary Institutions
- Appropriations for Housing Unhoused Post-Secondary Students
Explore Related Metrics
Access to formal education is crucial for unhoused young people for a number of reasons. Education is often a gateway to essential services, secure housing, and stable finances. Education can provide critical thinking and other skill sets that are necessary, both personally and professionally, for adulthood. Education can provide a sense of purpose and belonging, which is important for unhoused young people who are isolated or disconnected from society, including care providers and their peers.
“What I needed most was a clean space (uncluttered), a place to eat meals, transportation to and from school and activities. I did not have places to study. I have always been a high achieving student without the physical and mental space to fully feel safe and supported.”– Makayla Dawkins