Unaccompanied Homeless Youth


Young Male Reading

The Maryland Tuition Waiver for Foster Care Recipients is available to unaccompanied homeless youth who are enrolled as a candidate for an associate, bachelor’s degree or vocational certificate at a Maryland Public institution of higher education.


To be eligible for the Maryland Tuition Waiver for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, a youth must:

  • Be homeless, including doubled up or couch surfing; in shelter; staying in a car, park, abandoned building, or public place; staying at a motel for lack of other alternatives , or living on the street.
  • Not be receiving financial or other support from a parent or legal guardian, including over breaks
  • Have lived in Maryland for at least one year


To access the waiver, youth must:

  • Complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year
  • Verify unaccompanied homeless youth status in one of the following ways:
  • Provide a letter from a McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Liaison in a public school system which the youth attended in the last year; or
  • Provide a letter from a HUD- or RHYA- funded shelter where the youth is receiving services; or
  • Ask the financial aid office at the college or university that the youth is or will be attending to conduct an independent determination of status based on an interview with the youth
  • Be enrolled on or before he or she reaches the age of 25.
  • Be enrolled full time or part time for an associate, bachelors, or a vocational certificate (including by way of enrollment in credit-bearing or noncredit courses) at a Maryland public institution of higher education


Youth who receive the waiver are exempt from paying tuition and mandatory fees at a public college or university in Maryland. The tuition waiver only applies to tuition and fees that are required for registration or as a condition of enrollment. Tuition does not include room, board, books, and transportation. If a foster care recipient receives a scholarship or grant, the scholarship or grant may not be applied to the tuition for the foster care recipient, but may be applied to non-tuition costs.  


Youth must file the FAFSA each year to receive the waiver for up to an additional four years or until your Bachelor’s degree is awarded, whichever occurs first.


Youth continue to be exempt from paying tuition and fees until five years after first enrolling as a candidate for an associate, bachelors, or a vocational certificate at a Maryland public institution of higher education. Non-credit courses taken to earn a vocational certificate also qualify for tuition waiver.

Students are eligible to receive the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Tuition Waiver for the following semesters:

  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
  • Summer