Maryland Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Waiver

Students who are homeless youth may qualify for a tuition and fees waiver.

Circumstances may include:

  • Children and youth sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
  • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
  • Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters
    Children and youth abandoned in hospitals
  • Children and youth awaiting foster care placement
  • Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc.)
  • Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
  • Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations

Further eligibility criteria include:

  • FAFSA completed for the school year
  • Enrolled on or before reaching the age of 25
  • Pursuing a bachelor’s degree
  • Consistent presence in Maryland for at least a year prior to enrollment in a Maryland college or university

Eligible students can utilize the waiver during any term (fall, winter, spring, summer). The waiver can be renewed for 4 years or a Bachelor’s degree is awarded, whichever comes first.

Note, eligibility for this waiver changed effective July 1, 2021. Prior to this date students must be documented as ‘unaccompanied’ (not under the care of a parent) in addition to other criteria.  Further, effective July 1, 2021, the student now must have been meeting the federal McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness any point in the 24 months prior to enrollment in a Maryland college or university.

Students who believe they may qualify for the waiver should contact Colleen Lindbeck, Associate Director, Financial Aid at csly@umbc.edu for a personal appointment.

If you are denied the waiver, and wish to appeal, email Andrea Cipolla, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at cipolla@umbc.edu sharing your circumstances and request for reconsideration.

Information about the waiver program can also be found on the Maryland Higher Education Commission website.