College Planning Resources

Did you know that nearly 70% of high school seniors attend college after graduation? Postsecondary education can bring more money, more job options, and more freedom.

We recognize that the road to college may seem challenging and students may encounter roadblocks along the way, but it’s important to remember that resources are available. Our goal at the Center for College Planning is to help reduce some of these roadblocks and help make the journey to higher education easier and more enjoyable!

Admissions representatives and financial aid officers can also provide great assistance. Never be afraid to ask questions of the admission or financial aid office; they are there to support, help, and guide students. Once enrolled, services such as academic advising, counseling, peer mentoring, tutoring, and career services can provide support during the college years.

Here at the Center for College Planning, we are committed to providing free resources for foster youth, youth-in-care, and unaccompanied homeless youth. Through our ongoing collaboration with the Division of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) in New Hampshire, we work to assist students in the admission and financial aid process. Below you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions by foster youth, youth-in-care, and unaccompanied homeless youth as well as helpful links – we hope that these resources will help demystify the admission and financial aid process.

Besides the resources that are specific to foster youth, youth-in-care, and unaccompanied homeless youth, the CCP has many other resources that can help every student with their college search, application, and financial aid process. To begin, check out our Planning for College and the Financial Aid & Get Financially Fit pages. Also visit our Calendar of Events to see when we are visiting your school; you are welcome to attend any of our presentations, even if they are not at your high school! We also recommend watching our recorded webinars from #collegeboundNH LIVE! Week. The recordings range from advice on writing the college essay to creative ways to pay for college.

CCP and National resources for Foster Youth and Youth-in-Care

CCP and National resources for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Defining Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, Foster Youth, and Youth-in-Care

A youth who is determined unaccompanied and homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless by a school district homeless liaison or director of a homeless or runaway shelter.

Unaccompanied means you’re not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. Homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless means lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing. You may be homeless if you’re living in shelters, parks, motels, hotels, public spaces, camping grounds, cars, abandoned buildings, or you’re temporarily living with other people because you have nowhere else to go. Also, if you’re living in any of these situations due to fleeing an abusive parent or situation, you might be considered homeless even if your parent would otherwise provide a place to live.

Foster Care is a temporary arrangement in which adults care for a child or children whose birthparent is unable to care for them.

Youth in Care refers to programs for young people who need to be cared for away from their own families for a variety of reasons. Any youth who are or were in the care or custody of a local Department of Social Services, placed in a detention facility, adopted from foster care after age 16, or are in relative kinship care. This includes but is not limited to youth who are or may have been living with foster parents, relative parents (kinship), in group homes, residential treatment centers, etc.

Get Adobe Acrobat ReaderDownload Adobe Acrobat Reader

FAQ's for Foster Youth & Youth-in-Care

Fee waivers available: The costs of taking the SAT or ACT and applying to college can add up. Unaccompanied homeless youth can qualify for fee waivers to reduce these costs. Ask your school counselor for help in obtaining these.

Financial aid to help pay for college: An unaccompanied homeless youth is considered an “independent student” for financial aid purposes. This may allow you to qualify for additional financial aid resources.

Yes! Federal Financial Aid programs are available for 2-year college or professional schools (such as beauty schools, massage schools, etc.) as long as they are considered a Title IV school. You can ask the admissions office if they are Title IV or click here and type in the school name or city and state.

One of the best parts of a college schedule is that it is usually flexible. This means students can design a schedule that allows for day or evening availability. Some college programs are even designed for the working student by only offering evening and weekend classes. Also, more and more colleges are offering online classes where you can study at your convenience. Lastly, you can go half-time. As long as you take enough classes to be considered half-time, you can still be eligible for federal financial aid. So, the short answer is, yes, you can do both!

Yes! BOTH 2-year and 4-year colleges accept the HiSet for enrollment. Although, you may be asked to take proficiency exams to make sure you take the right level of math and English classes. If there is a particular 4-year college that does not accept the HiSet, start with courses at your local 2-year community college and then look to transfer into the 4 year-college.

Students must complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. As an unaccompanied homeless youth, a youth in care, or a foster youth, you can file the FAFSA as an independent student. This means that no parental information is required on the form, and you only provide your financial earnings. You may qualify for more financial aid as a result. To file the FAFSA or get more information go to

Federal financial aid may include: Pell Grant and Federal Direct Student Loans. Institutional aid – financial aid from the college itself – may include grants and scholarships. Students can also apply for ‘outside’ scholarships from all different sources. Here are a few to consider:

Although financial aid can make a college education possible even without family support, very few colleges give students a “full ride.” If your financial aid package does not cover the entire bill, you may need to find a loan. All student loans (except for Federal Direct) will require a “co-signer.” A co-signer is someone with an established credit history who is willing to assume all the risks of taking a loan with you. To explore all your options, talk to your school counselor or NHHEAF’s Center for College Planning (CCP).

Need a computer? Many colleges have computer labs that students can use for free and laptops for rent through the library. Some also offer discounted computers for purchase. Also consider becoming a Resident Assistant (RA) after your freshman year. Students in this job often receive discounted housing or meal plans. The college library will also likely have copies of textbooks that you can borrow for a semester rather than paying out-of-pocket.

The NHHEAF Network’s Center for College Planning is here to help. We offer FREE appointments to help students plan out their college search and application process and file their FAFSA. Call 888.747.2382 ext. 119 or email

Get Adobe Acrobat ReaderDownload Adobe Acrobat Reader