Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Who Qualifies as Homeless?

There are many Montana youth who qualify as homeless but are not “living on the streets.”

Enrolling in Homeless Services

There are resources that can help youth overcome the challenges and find a path out of homelessness.

Preparing & Paying for School

College after high school is within reach, there are opportunities available.

Resources for Homeless Youth

Check out our list of resources for youth experiencing homelessness.

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?

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.

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 — Available 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

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.

We are Here to Help!

For more information about our programs, contact Steven Coop at (406) 880-1145 or [email protected] or reach out to an advisor in your area.

Resources for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Resource-FC-DuringHS.svg During High School

Resource-FC-Scholarships.svg Scholarships and College Help

csm_OPI_Logo_d3d2b7658c.pngReach Higher Montana and Montana Office of Public Instruction are working in partnership to help youth experiencing homelessness find their path after high school and take advantage of opportunities available to them.