Financial Aid Made Easier for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

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WASHINGTON—The federal financial aid application process just got a bit simpler for unaccompanied homeless youth.

The Department of Education on Monday announced policy changes designed to make it easier for homeless youth to navigate the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The changes come as advocates have pushed for executive and legislative changes that reduce the barriers to college for homeless youth and other vulnerable groups, such as foster youth.

The department will revise the online FAFSA text that guides a youth through process of determining whether he or she is an independent student, beginning with the version of the form that will go online this fall.

In addition, in the following year, the department will make it easier for 22- and 23-year old applicants who are at-risk of or experiencing homelessness to indicate they are independent.

Education Secretary John B. King announced the changes in a letter to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, who has championed FAFSA improvements for homeless youth.

“These are important actions to help more unaccompanied homeless students pursue a college degree and achieve their dreams, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and the administration to ensure students of all walks of life have the chance to further their education and succeed,” said Murray in a news release.