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Support Proposed Higher Ed Act: Open Doors for Youth in Foster Care and Those Experiencing Homelessness

ELC advocates for older youth in foster care and those experiencing homelessness who face significant hurdles to accessing higher education and staying in college. As a result of these barriers, less than 3% of foster youth earn a college degree. But a new proposed law would make a huge difference to support these vulnerable youth. Learn about how the legislation will help foster and homeless youth access higher education by downloading this whitepaper.

ELC urges you to support the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act of 2015 (S. 2267/H.R. 4043). This law would help improve access to higher education for foster and homeless youth by ensuring that they have the support and financial aid they desperately need to help them graduate from college. Notably, the law includes a provision that would require colleges and universities to develop a plan to help homeless and foster youth access housing between semesters – which is a huge issue for these youth.

The law would also remove barriers and make college more affordable for homeless and foster youth by:

  • Clarifying which homeless young adults can be considered independent students to get the full financial aid they need;
  • Streamlining the FAFSA questions for homeless and foster youth;
  • Easing the verification and determination process for homeless youth; and 
  • Providing homeless and foster youth with in-state tuition rates to minimize the impact of their mobility and reduce barriers to college attendance

The law also supports homeless and foster youth with college retention, success, and completion by:

  • Designating single points of contact at institutions of higher education to assist homeless and foster youth to access and complete higher education, and other resources; and
  • Ensuring college access programs collaborate with child welfare agencies, homeless service providers, and school districts to identify, conduct outreach to, and recruit homeless and foster youth to tell them about opportunities for higher education and training.

What can you do to help? Call your Representative and Senators and urge them to co-sponsor or support the bill. You can look up your Represenentative and Senators here.