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Homestay FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the basic requirements for becoming a homestay host family?

A. First and foremost, hosts should seek to welcome students into their home as another member of their family and supervise the student as one would his or her own child. Additionally, all host families must be able to provide students:

– A private or semi-private bedroom
– 3 meals per day
– Daily transportation to and from school

Q. Do I need to personally drive the student to and from school each day?

A. No. Although we prefer that hosts personally transport students, students may take a school bus or carpool with a trusted source.

Q. How long do students stay? What sort of time commitment do I need to make?

A. Because we want to provide continuity for our students and to encourage students and hosts to build meaningful, lasting relationships, we do prefer that families commit to hosting for a full academic year (no more than 10 months).

Q. Are host families offered any compensation for hosting?

A. Yes. Kennedy Catholic provides all hosts with a monthly stipend to offset the additional costs associated with hosting a student.

Q. How will I receive my stipend?

A. Stipend payments are paid by check monthly.

Q. Will I have to pay taxes on the stipend I receive?

A. Yes, stipends are taxable according to the IRS and a 1099 will be issued to the primary host that the school contracted with. Nevertheless, because hosts must be able to prove the stipend money was spent on the student in order to avoid paying taxes on it, we recommend hosts keep track of spending and speak with a tax specialist in order to deduct from the taxable income portion that was spent on providing care to the student.

Q. Why are we NOT eligible for a financial aid award if we are a Homestay host?

A. Financial Aid awards are determined by income and family size. The School and IRS regulations deem Homestay payments as income which is not included in determining eligibility for financial aid when awards are calculated. The Homestay income is therefore an additional income source that can be used to meet the unmet financial need for tuition.

Q. I have expenses associated with Homestay so why is it considered purely income?

A. Eligibility for financial aid is based on gross income from all sources and the same principle is applied to Homestay. It would be archaic to base eligibility on net income after expenses due to the variation of personal choices and lifestyle. Homestay Hosts have the option of deducting eligible expenses associated with hosting a Homestay Student in your taxes to offset the taxable nature of the Homestay income.

Q. Why are Homestay payments taxable?

A. The Internal Revenue Service deems homestay payments as taxable income and Kennedy Catholic is required by law to comply with all IRS laws and regulations.

Q. Does Kennedy Catholic offer guidance on how to claim Homestay income and deduct eligible expenses on my tax return?

A. There is substantial liability for providing tax advice. Kennedy Catholic employees are not licensed to provide tax advice and are not experts in the field. Please consult your professional tax expert or preparer for any tax questions regarding Homestay income.

Q. What does the host application process entail? Can you walk me through it from start to finish?

A. Because we hold our hosts to a higher standard, our host approval process includes:

– An application
– A brief phone screen or interview
– A short home inspection and
– A background check (at no cost to you)

Q. After I have been successfully approved as a host family, am I guaranteed a student?

A. No, however the majority of our hosts are ultimately matched with a student, typically within the first year of the host being approved.
Additionally, once you have been approved as a host, your application will be stored in our database for as long as you would like, allowing us to offer you regular opportunities to host a student.

Q. Who determines which student I will be hosting?

A. The student and his/her family’s preferences take first priority, after that the Homestay Policy has an order for preference which is managed by the school.

Q. When does the “matching” process take place?

A. Typically our matching process proceeds in a rolling fashion, beginning in April and ending in August.
Although the bulk of our matching takes place during these months, we do offer additional hosting opportunities throughout the year.

Q. Can I host the same student for multiple years?

Absolutely! Students and hosts often build a familial bond and seek to live together for the duration of the student’s high school career.

Q. Does Kennedy Catholic support its host families? How?

A. Once your new family member arrives and settles into your home, you will receive an in-person check-in from our staff member. This staff member will serve as your point-person for all of your basic questions or needs and will provide ongoing support to you and your family throughout each student’s stay.

Q. What age is the student I’ll be hosting?

A. We currently work with students in high school (ages 14-18).

Q. What country will my student be coming from?

A. We primarily work with students from Asian countries, however we do receive homestay requests from students from many other parts of the world, including South America and Europe.

Q. Can I request a male or female student?

A. Yes. During the application process you will have the opportunity to state a gender preference..

Q. Do I need to have a child currently enrolled at the same school my student will be attending?

A. No. While we do find that many of our best host families do have children attending Kennedy Catholic, that is certainly not a requirement to participate in our program.

Q. I am a single parent. Can I be a host?

A. Of course! We have a wide range of approved hosts within our program and encourage all interested parties to apply.

Q. Can I host more than one student?

A. Yes. It is possible to host more than one student, but there are additional requirements for host families who choose to host multiple students.

Q. Do the students have health insurance?

A. Yes. Every student has health insurance.

Q. Are the students able to speak English?

A. Yes. Although most students come to the United States in order to improve their English and earn an American degree, students are going to be arriving at the very least with conversational-level English skills. Nevertheless, it’s important for hosts to serve as patient mentors for students, particularly upon the student’s immediate arrival, since students may be nervous speaking a second language in a new country.

Q. Can I still host a student if I have a pet?

A. Of course! In fact, some of our students prefer living with families who have pets.

Q. Am I allowed to invite my student on family trips?

A. Yes, you are both allowed and encouraged to bring your students on family trips. Moreover, although students are not required to attend, we encourage students to participate in family events, including trips and outings.

Q. Do the students staying for the 10-month school year go home over the summer or winter breaks?

A. Most students do go home for winter break, although some will stay with family members living in the United States. Almost all students go home for summer breaks.

Q. Are the students allowed to drive?

A. No, we do not allow any of our students to drive regardless of their age.

Q. What types of visas do the students have?

A. Our students will be coming here with an F1 student visa.