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Students Experiencing Homelessness - McKinney-Vento Act

What is Mckinney-vento?

What is Mckinney-vento?

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act) (42 United States Code § 11431-11435) is federal legislation that ensures the educational rights and protections of all school-aged children and youth experiencing homelessness. It requires all local educational agencies to ensure that students experiencing transitions in housing or homelessness have access to the same free, appropriate public education, as provided to other children and youth. Schools are required to remove barriers to the enrollment, attendance, and academic success of students in housing transition. 
To ensure that each school identifies all homeless and unaccompanied youths enrolled at the school, a housing questionnaire is administered at least once a year. The questionnaire can be made available in the primary language of the student’s parent or unaccompanied youth upon request. (References: 42 USC 11432; EC 48852.5, BP/AR: 6173 – Education for Homeless Children)


Students between the ages of 0 and 22*, who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This definition also includes:
  • Children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Children and youth who may be living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, shelters
  • Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
  • Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings, or
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are children who are living in similar circumstances listed above
*Extended beyond compulsory attendance age to address the needs of a student with Special Education services.
Unaccompanied youth who meet the definition of homeless youth are also eligible for rights and services under the McKinney-Vento Act. An unaccompanied youth is defined as a minor who is not in the physical custody of a parent.


The following is a brief summary of the rights of a youth experiencing homelessness:  
  • Right not to be stigmatized by school personnel.
  • Immediate Enrollment in School. Students experiencing homelessness, including unaccompanied homeless youth, must be enrolled immediately (the day they arrive) even if they do not have records normally required for enrollment such as birth certificate, proof of residency, immunization or health records, or previous academic records, or does not have clothing normally required by the school (e.g., school uniforms), or has outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other monies due to the school last attended. If the student needs immunizations, the school nurse will assist in obtaining them.  
  • Right to automatically qualify for child nutrition programs.
  • Right to priority access to an intersession program. If the homeless youth moves during the intersession period, the youth's educational rights holder shall determine which intercession program to attend.
  • Educational Placement Decisions Based on School of Origin and the Child's Best Interest. Educational and school placement decisions must be based on the child's best interests, and consider, among other factors, educational stability. Students experiencing homelessness have the right to attend their "school of origin", to the extent feasible, or to attend the school of attendance (residence neighborhood school) where they spend their nights. The school of origin is defined as the school the child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled. The school of origin can be the school attended when the student had permanent housing, the school most recently attended, or any school the homeless youth attended in the last 15 months. Transportation may be provided.
  • Equitable Access to School Services. Students experiencing homelessness must have equitable access to academic resources, services, enrichment, and extracurricular activities that are available to all other students.
  • Timely Transfer of Educational Records. Within two business days of enrolling a student experiencing homelessness, the school must contact the previous school to request the child's educational records. The student must be enrolled while the educational records are being obtained. If the student transfers out of the district, the school must forward the student's educational records within two business days. Right to have full and partial credits earned to be issued and accepted.
  • Transportation to the School of Origin. At the parent/guardian's request, a student experiencing homelessness must be provided transportation to and from the school of origin.
  • Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. An unaccompanied youth who is 14 years or older must be permitted access to their educational records and may provide consent for release of records to others.
  • Option for Eligible 11th and 12th Graders to Meet Modified Graduation Requirements. A student experiencing homelessness may qualify for exemption from coursework and other district graduation requirements that are in addition to the state graduation requirements if both of the following apply:
    • (1) The student transfers between schools any time after the completion of the student's second year of high school. The year of school based on either the number of credits earned or length of time of enrollment, whichever will make a student eligible; and,
    • 2) The district determines that the student is not reasonably able to complete district graduation requirements by the end of the student's fourth year of high school.
  • Dispute Resolution Process. If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school, the child or youth shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. In the case of an unaccompanied youth, the homeless liaison will ensure that the youth is immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of the dispute.
  • Right to file a complaint through the Uniform Complaint Procedures if there is an allegation that the District has not complied with requirements regarding the education of homeless youth.


Schools must immediately enroll students experiencing homelessness students, regardless of the lack of:

• Academic Records   
• Proof of Residency  
• Medical Records  
• Immunization Records

The enrolling school shall immediately contact the last school of attendance to obtain missing records. 


DISTRICT McKinney-Vento Liaison:

DISTRICT McKinney-Vento Liaison:

(Vacant) Executive Director of Student Services