Financial Aid Information for Students Experiencing Homelessness

Unaccompanied students in unstable housing and foster youth can complete the FAFSA or MHEC One-App as independent students, without parental signatures or income information. 

The 2024-2025 FAFSA has new checkboxes for these students:

Section 5: Student Per​sonal Circumstances

“At any time since the student turned 13, they were in foster care”

​Section 6: Student Other Circumstances

 “At any time on or after July 1, 2023, was the student unaccompanied and either (1) homeless or (2) self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?”

Homeless status can be verified by any of the following:

​Students with questions about whether they qualify as unaccompanied,​ ​homeless, or self-supporting and how to verify their eligibility should talk with their school district homeless liaison or a financial aid administrator at the college or university of their choice for verification. ​

For more information about your rights as a student in unstable housing, visit:

For additional information regarding the ​Homeless Previsions in the New FAFSA go to:

New FAFSA Provisions for Homeless and Foster Youth

Financial Aid for Youth Who are Homeless (or At Risk of Homelessness) and On Their Own

Does My Living Situation Meet the Definition of Homelessness?

Learn More About the Maryland Tuition Waiver for 

​Homeless Youth​​​​

​​To apply for the Tuition Waiver for Homeless Youth, you must reach out to the college you are attending (or plan to attend) and speak directly with the financial aid office for more information. 


The Maryland Tuition Waiver for Homeless Youth provides financial assistance to  homeless youth who are enrolled as a candidate for an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or vocational certificate at a Maryland Public institution of higher education. 


To be eligible for the Maryland Tuition Waiv​er for Homeless Youth, a youth must:

  • have had a consistent presence in the state for at least one year before enrollment in a public institution of higher education that is documented by school, employment, or other records; and
  • have been verified as a homeless  youth, as defined by the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, at any time during the 24 months immediately preceding the student's enrollment in a public institution of higher education or while the student is enrolled in a public institution of higher education.

    The McKinney-Vento Homeless Act defines homeless youth as “individuals who lack fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”

Examples of children who fall under this definition are as follows:

  • Youth staying with other people​ due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
  • Youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
  • Youth living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Y​outh living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations


The youth must:

  • complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the MHEC One-App  each year;
  • be enrolled on or before he or she reaches the age of 25;
  • ​be enrolled full time or part time while earning an associate, bachelors, or a vocational certificate at a Maryland public institution of higher education.   *Non-credit courses taken to earn a vocational certificate also qualify for tuition waiver.

Students are eligible to receive the Homeless Youth Tuition Waiver for the following semesters:
A. Fall
B. Winter
C. Spring
D. Summer

Students continue to remain exempt from paying tuition and fees until:
  • ten years after first enrolling as a candidate for an associate, bachelors​​, or a vocational certificate at a Maryland public institution of higher education; or
  • ​the date that the homeless youth is awarded a bachelors degree, which​ever occurs first.


You are exempt from paying tuition and mandatory fees at a public college in Maryland. The tuition waiver only applies to tuition and fees. This also includes all fees for credit bearing and noncredit courses required as a condition of enrollment​.​

If a ​homeless youth receives a scholarship or grant, the scholarship or grant may not be applied to the tuition for the homeless youth. 

Tuition is determined by the individual public institution of higher education and includes cost for tuition, registration fees as well as all fees that are required as a condition of enrollment. Tuition does not include room, board, books, and transportation.


You must file the FAFSA or the MHEC One-App to receive the waiver for up to an additional four years or until your bachelor’s degree is awarded, whichever occurs first. You must remain enrolled in an eligible program.

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