Single Point of Contact (SPOC) 

Ball State has designated the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Tiffany Peters, to serve as the single point of contact for unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY). The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/SPOC is a safe and supportive college administrator that can assist unaccompanied homeless youth in navigating the transition to college, identify specific needs, and refer to various departments and student services across campus. We will assist in making intentional referrals to departments, including but not limited to:

  • Admissions
  • Financial Aid
  • Academic Advising
  • Housing and Residence Life
  • Disability Services
  • Health Center
  • Counseling Center

Unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) may need additional support in meeting basic needs, including safe break housing, food, and health care. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/SPOC is here to help students meet those challenges and foster a stable educational experience.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is a federal law that provides support to unaccompanied homeless youth. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines homeless children and youths as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence including:

  • Children and youths who are sharing the housing of another person due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals,
  • Children and youths 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 youths living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
  • Migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purpose of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses 1 – 3.

Independent Cardinals 

Independent Cardinals is a support service for unaccompanied homeless youth. Independent Cardinals provides a centrally located office and supportive staff to help unaccompanied homeless youth successfully transition to college and succeed throughout their undergraduate education. Independent Cardinals will meet regularly with staff in the Office of Student Affairs to navigate their college experience, with a specific focus on basic needs security, academic success, and campus engagement. Independent Cardinals will have the opportunity to partake in recommended campus engagement opportunities and be connected with important campus services.

Program Eligibility:

  • A student who meets at least one of the below criteria and is 21 years old or younger and completing a four-year degree for the first time.
  • Unaccompanied homeless youth that qualifies as an independent student for purposes of the FAFSA and/or;
  • Unaccompanied, self-supporting youth at risk of homelessness and/or;
  • Verified unaccompanied homeless youth by one of the following authorities:
    • High school district homeless liaison
    • The director (or designee) of an emergency shelter program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
    • The director or designee of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program and/or;
  • First-year students experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness
  • Students who qualify as Independent for purposes of the FAFSA;
  • Eligibility otherwise determined by the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs

Apply to the Independent Cardinals Program

Guardian Scholars 

The Ball State University Guardian Scholars Program is a University-sponsored student support service for Ball State students who experienced foster care during high school. The mission of the program is to promote self-sufficiency while equipping students with tools for a successful transition into college, career and life. The Guardian Scholars program provides a variety of supports for program participants including academic support, success seminars, program and community events, and financial support. Within the Guardian Scholars, students will be connected to peers who shared similar childhood experiences and network of professionals to support their unique challenges on campus.

Learn More and Apply