Who Qualifies as a Homeless Youth?

Students up to age 24 qualify to receive services for homeless youth if they meet at least one of the following:

  • Homeless includes youth who lack fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. 
  • At-risk of homelessness refers to students whose housing may cease to be fixed, regular, and adequate.
  • Unaccompanied includes youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

While it may be difficult to identify a youth as homeless, unaccompanied, or at-risk of being homeless, here is a list of Potential Warning Signs of Homelessness and the Unaccompanied Youth Eligibility Flowchart to help you make a determination.

Why Should I Enroll or Identify as Homeless?

There are some great benefits and services available for homeless youth that should be taken advantage of. These benefits and services can help youth overcome the challenges they face and find a path out of homelessness. Check out some of these listed below.

At Reach Higher Montana, we have compiled useful information to help you Find Your Career Path and Explore Your Options.

Who Can Verify Eligibility?

Who Can Verify Eligibility?

These individuals and agencies are able to verify eligibility for Homeless, Unaccompanied, or At-Risk of Becoming Homeless status. Verification can open doors to benefits and resources that are available.

If you are authorized to make an official determination of homeless status, you can use this form to document eligibility.

Pro Tip
Pro Tip

 If you do not have an unaccompanied homeless youth determination but believe you qualify for one, please contact your school district homeless liaison or the college financial aid office for an official eligibility determination.

Take a mental selfie
Take a mental selfie

Juniors in high school, you had or will have the opportunity to take the ACT exam for free. Did you do the best job taking the test you could? If not, get a fee waiver from your counselor and take the exam again.

Preparing and Paying for School

Preparing and Paying for School

Start Preparing for Life After High School

Paying for college admission exams, advanced placement tests, and college applications can be challenging but there are opportunities to reduce the cost.

Fee Waivers:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) Exams - Eligible students can receive unlimited AP exam fee waivers​​​​​​. Ask your school's AP coordinator.
  • ACT Fee Waivers - Covers registration and late fees for the full ACT (with or without writing), access to prep tools, and sending the test score(s) to six colleges. Ask your school counselor.
  • SAT Fee Waivers - Covers basic test fees and sending test score(s) to unlimited colleges and late registration fees. Ask your counselor.
  • PSAT Test Fee Waivers - Availabe for juniors. Ask your counselor.

College Application Fees:

Don't forget!

  • Most colleges accept the College Board or NACAC waiver forms; however, individual institutions may have their own fee waiver policies that vary
  • Colleges that use The Common Application accept the SAT college application fee waiver
  • Some colleges do not charge application fees for students that apply online

Paying for School

Let's Start with the FAFSA

Paying for School

Montana youth who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless may qualify as independent when completing the FAFSA. Why does this matter? Students may be eligible for FREE money for school (grants). Students who qualify as independent will not have to include parent or guardian income tax information or their signature(s) when completing the FAFSA application.  This increases the applicants’ chances of qualifying for the Pell grant, the Federal Supplemental Opportunities Grant (FSEOG), and work study. Learn more.

Scholarships for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

We have a list of scholarships for youth experiencing homelessness, unaccompanied, or at-risk of becoming homeless, we encourage you to take a look and apply. 

Check out our Scholarships for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

We are Here to Help!

For more information about our programs, contact Steven Coop at (406) 880-1145 or scoop@reachhighermontana.org or reach out to an advisor in your area.

Pro Tip
Pro Tip

Educators: Provide a FAFSA determination letter to every high school senior who is identified as being homeless under the McKinney-Vento guidelines prior to their high school graduation date.

Resources for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

field.title  During High School

field.title  Scholarships and College Help