Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness in High School

The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) emphasizes the importance of high school graduation for students experiencing homelessness. Ohio’s graduation rate for students experiencing homelessness is lower than students not experiencing this hardship. Connections to educators and schools can increase successful outcomes from graduation and beyond. 

Graduation Requirements 

High school students experiencing homelessness face unique challenges. Many students change schools several times during their high school career. Moving schools frequently due to homelessness can put a student at risk for not earning the necessary credits for graduation. Records and credits transferred in a timely manner is key to supporting success. Homeless education liaisons can connect students to counselors or success mentors to remove barriers to graduation. Schools and districts can provide resources and information about graduation requirements, career-technical education, career-based interventions, graduation requirements, applying for college or exploring military options. For more information, access Ohio’s Graduation Requirements.   

Fee Waivers 

For students experiencing homelessness and looking to apply to college, fees can be a barrier. If the student needs to retake the ACT or SAT, beyond the state-funded test administration, your local homeless education liaison can file for a fee waiver. If the student has exceeded the available fee waivers for the ACT or SAT, the district may use Title I funds to cover the fees.

College in High School 

Students experiencing homelessness have the same access to college credit programs as all other eligible students. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) classes and College Credit Plus classes. Schools and districts can plan to support students experiencing homelessness as they complete college in high school by providing Title I academic supports. 

Career-Technical Education 

Career-technical education inspires students to identify paths to future success and provides students opportunities to demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary for high school graduation and workforce readiness. Students learn workforce skills through career exploration, project-based learning and industry credentials. Schools offering career-technical education courses or pathways can help students experiencing homelessness by removing barriers to participate in career-tech programs. Schools should consider whether a student experiencing homelessness is eligible for support through Perkins V. The state of Ohio will pay for any professional credentials

Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP) 

The Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP) at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services assists students through individualized supports that can build career paths. Students who are 14-24 years of age and meet federal poverty guidelines qualify for the program. The CCMEP engages students in meaningful employment and training opportunities that can help build lifelong, sustainable careers. Each county has a designated lead agency responsible for managing CCMEP; to find yours, email or visit OhioMeansJobs.

Free Application for Federal Aid Assistance 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be daunting to someone who has never gone through the process or who may lack records and information helpful in filling out the application. The homeless education liaison can connect a student experiencing homelessness with a school counselor to provide support through the application process.

The FAFSA Simplification Act introduced changes to the FAFSA including reducing barriers for students experiencing homelessness to maintain eligibility. Under federal law, homeless education liaisons, their designee or homeless shelter directors can identify students experiencing homelessness and provide them documentation for the FAFSA. Students experiencing homelessness do not need to resubmit this information every year. Unaccompanied homeless youth can select the option that they are homeless in the FAFSA to forgo including their parents’ information. Students experiencing homelessness living with their families will still need to include their parents’ financial information. For more information, access FAFSA and Youth Homelessness.

Military Career Pathway 

Students experiencing homelessness are eligible to enlist in the military if they meet set requirements. Military enlistment earns a student the Military Enlistment Seal. This counts for one of the two seals required for high school graduation. During the enlistment process, students take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). High school students in grades 10, 11 and 12 and those enrolled at postsecondary institutions can participate in the ASVAB Career Exploration Program. Students in 11th grade and beyond receive valid scores for enlistment. 

Related Resources 

Last Modified: 8/21/2023 4:15:18 PM