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Barb Dexter

About the NAEHCY Scholarship Program

Children and youth in homeless situations face numerous barriers to educational success. Deep poverty, high mobility, and school requirements often make attending and succeeding in school a challenge. Despite these challenges, many students who experience homelessness not only graduate from high school, but wish to pursue a college education.

What is the application period?

NAEHCY will award its 2016 scholarships in October 2016.

What is the NAEHCY Scholarship Program?

The NAEHCY Scholarship Program was established in 1998.  Each year, we award scholarships to students who have experienced homelessness and who have demonstrated academic achievement.

Who selects the recipients?

A national advisory board including local, state, and national educators reviews the applications and makes the selection.

How many scholarships are awarded?

There will be a minimum of two $2,000 scholarships awarded annually. While the scholarship is a one-time award, additional financial support may be available for scholars in subsequent years

How may the NAEHCY scholarship be used?

Upon submission of evidence that a Scholar has enrolled in a post secondary program, the scholarship will be provided and may be used to help defray the costs of college tuition, fees, books, prep courses, or other educational expenses.

How many scholarships have been awarded in the past?

To date, NAEHCY has awarded scholarships to more than 280 recipients. 

When will the scholarships be awarded?

The scholarships will be awarded on Sunday, October 30, 2016, at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth conference in Orlando, Florida. Scholarship winners receive an all-expense paid trip to the conference to receive their awards. While attendance at the conference is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged.

Who is eligible for the scholarship?

The scholarship funds are available to students who are homeless or who have been homeless during their K-12 school attendance, and who have demonstrated average or higher than average achievement.

According to federal law, a person is considered homeless who “lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence.” This includes people living in shelters, cars, motels, campgrounds, or places not meant for human habitation, as well as children and youth who are living temporarily with friends, relatives, or other people because they lack permanent housing.

Students less than 21 years of age as of September 1, 2016, and who have completed no more than two years of college by September 1, 2016, are eligible to apply. Applicants may be high school seniors, students enrolled in a GED or other alternative education program, or recent graduates/GED recipients. If you are in high school and not yet enrolled in a post secondary program, the committee will hold your scholarship for you pending your enrollment.

How do students apply?

Applicants must submit:

  1. A completed application form;
  2. An essay about the impact of homelessness on their lives and their desire to attend college (up to 1,500 words; please see essay evaluation criteria listed below);
  3. An official or unofficial school transcript, include class ranking if available; and
  4. A minimum of one letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, or other adult who can speak to the applicant’s qualifications and experiences.



What are the criteria for reviewing the applications?

Students' applications will be evaluated on:  

  1. Demonstrated commitment to education during the experience of homelessness;
  2. Academic achievement and accomplishments;
  3. Potential impact of the scholarship for the student’s educational career;
  4. Discussion of how the scholarship money would be used;
  5. Statement of goals and career interests; and
  6. Grammar and use of language.

Applicants should write essays with these criteria in mind. The essay is the most important component of the application; letters of recommendation are also very important.

When is the deadline for the 2016 applications?

Applications must be received by 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, June 17, 2016.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.


NAEHCY 2016 Conference
Orlando, FL
October 29-November 1
The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015
Homeless Students in ESEA Reauthorization
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